Don’t lose out as we wind back to GMT. Breeze through the shift in time with these tips
The time of year for THAT conversation is here again.
You know the one: when do the clocks change, do they go forwards or back, what will you do with the extra hour, should you rethink when you’ll hit the sack, will you struggle to rise and shine?
For the avoidance of all doubt, daylight saving time always ends on the last Sunday in October, at 2am to be precise, and the clocks go back by one hour (they ‘spring’ forward in March).
Try these tips to help you adjust and keep you right on track to dreamland.
In this article, we’ll run through
- How time change affects your body
- How long does it take to adjust to daylight savings time
- 6 tips for clocks going forward
- 3 tips for clocks going back
How does time change affect your body?
Each cell in our body keeps track of the time, so any changes in daily patterns that we experience can activate stress in our brains.
This can lead to memory loss, sleep deprivation and disorientation.
But that’s not all, changes like this also have the ability to cause difficulties with learning, social interactions, and overall cognitive function.1
But don’t worry there are things you can do to help your body adjust – more on that later.
How long does it take your body to adjust to daylight savings time?
Generally speaking, it should only take a day for your body to get used to the clocks moving forward or back – since it only changes an hour.
6 tips for clocks going forward
Read on for our top tips for when the clocks go forward.
Start going to sleep earlier
In the run-up to the clocks going forward in the spring, it might be a good idea to start heading to bed 10 minutes earlier each day.
That way, once the clocks change, your body will have adjusted in advance and it won’t feel as much of a shock to the system.
Wind it down
It’s known that certain behaviours throughout the day and in the hours leading up to our bedtime in particular can interfere with sleep.
One such practice is using devices such as mobile phones and tablets before bed as the light makes you feel awake. Meanwhile, scrolling the internet or checking emails can keep the mind whirring.
Try to relax for at least one hour before bed. Some research suggests taking a bath before bed can help you fall asleep.2,3
Be right on schedule
You’re more a creature of habit than you know. Your circadian rhythms, which include when you feel hungry or tired sleepy, have a daily schedule.4
When you wake up or go to bed sleep at irregular times, you risk being out of sync.
For most people, one hour shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, but you might feel more tired than usual come the evening. If you usually require 8 hours, aim for the same amount.
One study suggested that caffeine can affect bedtime routines sleep when consumed up to six hours beforehand.5
Make the switch to non-caffeinated drinks such as non-caffeinated fruit or herbal teas by mid-afternoon.
Step into the light
Daylight affects our circadian rhythms, including sleep. Research has shown that people who get more light in the morning fall asleep sooner and have better quality sleep.
It might not be as easy at this time of year, but try to spend some time outside in the mornings, perhaps before work or during your morning screen break.6
Prep your environment
The changing of the clocks is a handy cue to review whether your bedroom is set up well for good sleep.
Experts will often recommend that your bedroom at night should resemble a cave – that is dark, quiet and cool.
So, while it’s traditionally the time of year to up the thermostat, it’s worth making sure your bedroom isn’t getting overheated.
Research suggests it should be around 16-18°C.
3 tips for clocks going back
Read on for our top tips for when the clocks go back.
Allow yourself a lie in
First things first, this is the only time in the year when you get an extra hour sleep, so why not make the most of it?
Having said this, there is an optimum way to enjoy this lie in so that your body can adjust to the time change as quickly as possible…
Start going to bed sleep later
In the days before the clocks go back, you may want to start going to bed sleep slightly later, so that your body naturally shifts towards the new change.
Much like when the clocks go forward, try going to sleep 10 minutes later in the few days leading up to it.
Eat your meals an hour later on the day before
And finally, the timings of your meals may also have a role to play in your bedtime sleep schedule.
So to ensure that everything is on track, on the day before the clocks go back, aim to eat your meals roughly an hour later than you would usually.
Does daylight savings affect mental health?
Studies have shown that when the clocks change during autumn, it could have an impact on your mental health.
Researchers found that hospitals reported an 11% increase in depressive symptoms right after the clocks went back.
However, it didn’t have the same effect after the clocks went forward.7
Is daylight savings time good for your health?
Not necessarily. In fact, multiple studies have found a link between daylight savings and an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks and depressive symptoms.8, 9, 10
Can daylight savings cause anxiety?
Since daylight savings can cause you to lose sleep, there is a chance that it could also increase feelings of anxiety.11
Why am I so tired after daylight savings?
This is due to changes in your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm. But don’t worry, you can alter this. Check out our article on the circadian rhythm for everything you need to know.
How does daylight savings affect mood?
This mainly applies to the clocks going back in the autumn, but experts say that daylight savings affect mood because of the loss of light in the evening.
This ties in with Seasonal Affective Disorder which is often brought on by a lack of sunlight.12
When does the time change?
In the UK, every year the clocks go forward an hour on the last Sunday of March and the clocks go back on the last Sunday of October.13
The final say
The clocks changing can disrupt our lives in more ways than you might have thought, but fortunately, these tips should be able to minimise that.
Handpicked article: 10 tips for a good night’s sleep
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 14 March 2022