The annual change to British Summer comes this Sunday 25th March at 1am. Depriving us of an hour of sleep, most of us will turn up to work on the Monday morning after, tired, and groggy, not quite adjusted to the new earlier bed time and unable to function properly during the day.
This is because our circadian rhythm, the internal body clock that regulates our sleep-wake timing, is designed to stay in the same cycle, give or take a few minutes, each day and night, and can’t adjust a full hour in one go. In fact, for some it can even take days to recover.
The resulting tiredness caused when our body clocks are out of sync can have serious repercussions and the more sleep deprived we are, the worse we feel.
Another hour of lost sleep
The problem these days is that we are starting the weekend from a place of ‘sleep debt’ where we are waking up more days a week tired than not . Last year a poll by the Royal Society for Public Health revealed people in the UK slept an average of 6.8 hours, under-sleeping by about an hour a night.
This has a significant impact on our concentration, creativity, memory and focus. According to leading sleep researcher Matthew Walker: “Just 60 to 90 minutes of additional sleep boosts the learning capacity of the brain, significantly increasing memory retention of facts and preventing forgetting.”
The five step plan for easing into Daylight Savings.
Here is a simple five step plan, staggering your body clock adjustment, to make sure you can ease to the British Summer Time already sorted for the Clocks change, and ready for the new week on Monday.
1. Thursday preparation
Stop all caffeine on Thursday afternoon allowing you to set up a more relaxed start to Friday.
2. Friday Day
Go without caffeine all day. This will help make you tired earlier. Do some exercise, preferably more than normal, to make yourself extra tired. Get outside in the sunlight during the day too which helps strengthen your body clock.
3. Friday Evening
Go to bed ½ hour earlier than normal. If you aren’t feeling tired enough to do this, try using a herb called Valerian which is proven to help us nod off. Valerian comes in either T-Bag, Tincture, or capsule form and is taken about 30-45 minutes before your planned bedtime.
4. Saturday Day
You have now adjusted to a time zone which is ½ hour earlier than your norm and a ½ hour earlier than the rest of your friends. Adjust all your Saturday meals ½ hour earlier too. Take pro-biotics as they can aid sleep, or add them to your meals by eating natural Yoghurt. Exercise outdoors if you can, and stay off caffeine again, making your body more tired and your mind more relaxed.
5. Saturday Evening
Shift your bedtime another ½ hour earlier. This means you are now one whole hour forward. If you need to, use Valerian again to make yourself sleepier. In addition you could take a warm bath with Lavender in it about 45 minutes before retiring, or use Lavender drops on your pillow if you prefer.
On Sunday morning you will now wake up refreshed as you will be in the new time zone without losing any sleep. All your meal times will also naturally fall into place, and you have no need to worry about whether you can manage to get to bed on time Sunday night as you will already be perfectly in sync with British Summer Time. You can therefore start your working week fully recharged, mentally alert and raring to go.