The clocks go forward this Sunday (March 25) at 1am. On one hand, the clock change signals the start of summer (hello, lighter evenings!). On the other hand, it robs us of one hour’s sleep. Tsk.
why do the clocks change?
The daylight saving idea was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but in the early 1900s a British man called William Willett published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight. In short, he was annoyed that the early morning daylight in the summer wasn’t being utilised. We hear you, William.
From 1916, British Summer Time officially came in to force – and clocks now go one hour ahead of GMT on the last Sunday of March, and change back on the last Sunday of October.
During the Second World War, British Double Summer Time was introduced to boost productivity, but it was business as usual, as soon as the war was over. There’s been some back and forth over the last hundred years (and even a period in 1968-1971 when the clocks didn’t change), but now many countries have adopted the same logic. History lesson over.
What does this mean for our sleep? Our sleep is affected by seasons, our environment and changes in light – so the clock change may affect slumber for some people.
In particular, when the clocks go forward, melatonin levels (our sleepy hormone) rise earlier in the evening and fall off earlier in the morning, so we’re more inclined to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
sleep tips for the clock change
Does losing one hour sleep make you cranky? We’ve got some tips to help…
- Get a sweat on: Exercising helps the production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, which is involved in regulating sleep. Being outdoors in the natural light will also help the body adjust, because of the circadian rhythm. A brisk walk, anyone?
- Try not to overcompensate: It’s tempting, but staying in bed for an extra hour could make it harder for you to sleep that night. It’s a good idea to get in the swing of the clock change, by going to bed earlier on Saturday night and adjusting your routine accordingly.
- Avoid alcohol: You may feel like it helps you snooze, but booze affects the quality of your sleep (especially restorative REM sleep) – leaving you with less energy the next day.
- Take a 20-minute power nap: eve’s go-to sleep expert, Christine Hansen, recommends a coffee before a power nap, so you’ll have the benefit of the buzz and the rest, but only before 2pm! Btw, our knitted throw is perfect for naps.
- Try not to stress: Stress is one of the biggest inhibitors of sleep. Missing an hours sleep might be annoying, but your body can make this small adjustment quite easily. Try Christine’s breathing exercise for a quick pre-sleep destress (put one hand on your belly and breathe in for four seconds and feel it rising, then breathe out for four. Repeat!)