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How to ace the clocks changing

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.

Be right on schedule

You’re more a creature of habit than you know. Your circadian rhythms, which include when you feel hungry or sleepy, have a daily schedule. When you wake up or go to 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. Gradually changing your sleep and wake times over a few days might help you adapt to the new order of things.

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.

Avoid caffeine

One study suggested that caffeine can affect sleep when consumed up to six hours beforehand. 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.

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.

Sweet dreams.

Handpicked article: 10 tips for a good night’s sleep

Shop Sleep & Relaxation Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies. Sources

www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx
www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/oby.20351
www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10979246
www.jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=29198
www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218(17)30041-4/abstract
www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/seven-steps-to-a-better-nights-sleep/

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