British Summer Time officially ends at 2am this Sunday 30th October. For those who like to catch up on their sleep over the weekend this seems perfect. Essentially you get an extra hour in bed, great if you don’t have young children.
However, it’s now known that catching up on sleep creates a condition called ‘Social Jet Lag’. This is because altering sleep times mimics the effect of long-haul travel when our body clock is thrown out by the different time zones. This puts stress on our internal systems including pushing our digestion off track. It can even leave us feeling groggy.
The best way to get the optimum quality and quantity of sleep is to go to bed and wake up at the same time 7 days a sleep. This strengthens our body clock. It also keeps all of our other internal rhythms and systems running smoothly too. This leads to better health all round.
Stagger the change to your sleep
Rather than take the whole hour in one go I recommend staggering the clocks change over 2 nights for adults. This can be conveniently done over the clock’s change weekend.
Weekend Clocks change schedule for adults
Here is how the changes would pan out over a weekend, lining up your body clock to ease into the Sunday in sync with the new time zone
This Friday night go to bed ½ hour later
This means on Saturday morning you should now naturally wake up ½ hour later than normal. We can now use meal times to tweak your body clock to gradually shift the other ½ hour later in the day.
You do this by eating all meals one full hour later. than the current time. Thus a 1 pm lunch would shift to 2 pm and so on. Your body clock is now set up to feel tired one hour later on Saturday evening.
Hopefully you can nod off with ease one hour later this Saturday night
On Sunday you will now naturally wake up 1 hour later. You will be now in sync for the whole of Sunday, and fully refreshed for work on Monday.
What happens if you miss Friday’s adjustment?
If you can’t manage to get to bed later on Friday night allow yourself to get up ½ hour later
on Saturday by setting your alarm later. Then adjust the meal times by one hour as planned.
Additional Sleep hygiene tweaks
Apart from moving your bed-time / wake time in steps and adjusting mealtimes, there are a
few other easy wins to help your body clock adjust.
The first is to exercise in the morning over the weekend (preferably outside to get sunlight). This is proven to help people get to sleep more easily in the evening. In fact morning sunlight is one of the key components to creating a strong Circadian Rhythm.
Another would be to include things which help you to relax in the evening. Perhaps get your body to relax by having a bath with lavender and do some stretching or yoga.
Finally, in order to help your brain wind down, dimming the lights and reading a book, rather than watching TV, are tried and tested relaxation methods. These help your mind wind down for bedtime, creating the desire for sleep.
I hope these tips allow you to wake up this coming Monday refreshed and ready for work.