On the 29th March the clocks go forward heralding British Summer Time!
And while this is a welcome sign, it does have an effect on sleep. Many people find it hard to adjust to the time when the clocks jump ahead one hour, erasing an hour of sleep. Some suffer with fatigue cognitive slowing, mood problems and slower reaction times. Studies have shown an increase in heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries in the days following the shift to British Summer Time.
Although it is only an hour, it can take a couple of weeks for some people to get back into their routine and feel normal again.
If losing an hour of sleep affects you, then it’s important to start planning now to ease your body into the time transition. Try these simple steps:
• Stick to your normal weekday sleep schedule on the weekend of the time change. You often stay up later and sleep in later at a weekend but if you stick to your regular hours then that lost hour won’t have such a big impact.
• You can prepare even more in the days leading up to the time change. Start the Wednesday before (March 25) and go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night and wake up 10-15 minutes earlier each morning. When Sunday arrives, you will already be adjusted. This is particularly helpful for those with young children.
• Dim the lights earlier on nights leading up to the time change. Avoid bright light in the evening, especially from computer and TV screens.
• Create the right sleeping environment – keep it cool, dark and quiet and make sure you’ve got a comfortable, supportive bed.
Don’t wake up feeling glum about your ‘lost hour’ – be happy, it’s officially Summer… well we can wish!