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The Sleepeezee Blog

Spring Forward: How Daylight Saving Time Affects Sleep

Posted in 

Sleep Tips
25.03.24
What is Daylight Savings Time?

 

March brings with it the promise of spring and finally longer days of sunlight. However, this change also brings the sometimes dreaded Easter event – daylight saving time, where we all sacrifice an hour of sleep on the last Sunday in March as we transition into British Summer Time (BST). In the UK, the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am to help push us out of the darker mornings of winter, before we change them back 1 hour to Greenwich Mean Time at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

First proposed by British builder William Willett in 1907 to increase productivity and leisure, daylight saving time became a permanent fixture in the UK in 1925 to conserve energy during WW1. Since then, the added hour of daylight has been observed to yield significant environmental and economic benefits, reducing electricity usage and CO2 emissions by around 220,000 tonnes annually. Socially, the benefits have been shown in children who reported an increase in their mental health due to increased outdoor playtime. A reduction in crime and road accidents were noted too in both the UK and USA.

Although the idea of having more hours of daylight is appealing, the change can have adverse effects on our body’s internal clock and our sleep patterns. Every March when we set the clocks forward, we lose an hour of sleep. This may not seem like a lot but even this slight change can completely throw off our circadian rhythm, disruption of which has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and fatal car crashes. Our bodies are finely attuned to respond to light and darkness and the sudden change in this compared with our internal clock can disrupt both the quality and duration of our sleep.

Our top tips to prepare for daylight savings time

 

Gradual Adjustment Start shifting your bedtime and wake-up time gradually in the days leading up to the clock change. Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier to ease your body into your new sleep schedule.

Optimise Your Sleep Environment Create the perfect environment to fall asleep by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Blackout curtains and earplugs can be a great way to help you stay asleep for longer.

Limit Screen Time The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Avoid screens such as smartphones, tablets, and computers at least an hour before bedtime to promote better sleep quality. For any necessary screen time, ensure your device has ‘night shift’ enabled, to reduce blue light activity.

Stick to a Routine Establishing a consistent sleep schedule can help regulate your body’s internal clock. Aim to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends, to maintain a stable sleep pattern.

Practice Relaxation Techniques Incorporate relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga into your bedtime routine to help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep patterns and interfere with the quality of your rest.

Get Sunlight Exposure Exposure to natural sunlight during the day can vastly improve your sleep quality. Try to spend time outdoors, especially in the morning, to signal to your body that it’s time to wake up.

In Conclusion

 

Following these strategies for improved sleep hygiene will help you ease into daylight saving time and minimise the impact on your sleep patterns. It may take a few days for your body to adjust fully, so be patient and prioritise self-care during this period of transition. With a little planning and mindfulness, you can ensure that the shift in your sleep schedule doesn’t leave you feeling sleep deprived.

Posted in 

Sleep Tips
25.03.24