How to adjust your body for clocks going back get up earlier and cut takeaways
Clocks are going back by one hour in the early hours of Sunday morning as the UK says goodbye to British Summer Time and hello to longer, colder evenings.
The one benefit? That extra hour in bed that we can all enjoy, as 2am switches straight back to being 1am again on October 30.
But sleep experts say many Brits make the mistake of cheating themselves out of more slumber by staying up later the night before the clocks go back.
To avoid having your sleep disrupted, two experts offer their tips for making the most of the extra pillow time as daylight saving time ends.
How to adjust your body for the clocks turning back
Phil Lawlor, sleep expert at Dormeo, said studies show that many people don’t necessarily gain extra sleep when the clocks go back.
That’s because many are deciding to stay up later rather than allowing for a full night’s sleep.
The time transition may lead to longer sleep duration but for not a full hour, as our bodies are physiologically trained to the previous clock time, he explained.
The additional hour can actually make some people feel more tired in the morning as it messes with the brain’s biological clock.
Mr Lawlor recommends gradually altering your bedtime two to three days before the clocks go back, so that your body clock gets used to the change in routine.
“Get up 20 minutes later over the weekend because this will help your body to gently adjust to the new schedule,” he said.
“Exercise and eat 25 minutes earlier than usual so your body can ease into the new time routine.”
Psychologist Dr Lindsay Browning said light exposure is key to shaking off any tiredness as a result of the clocks changing.
The neuroscientist and sleep expert for And So To Bed said: “If you don’t alter your bedtime before the clocks change, you may find that you wake up too early and find yourself tossing and turning in bed until your alarm goes off.
“This can leave you feeling tired during the day, as though you didn’t have a good night’s sleep.
“To help combat this, and to help you get going in the morning, start the day by opening your curtains wide as soon as you wake up to let in the light.
“Also, make sure that you leave the house for a mid-morning/lunchtime walk to help you get some important sunlight exposure and a little light exercise.”
Dos and don’ts from the sleep experts
Don’t nap: daytime naps can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
Do keep a regular sleep routine.
Don’t use electronic screens just before bed — the blue light they emit wakes you up.
Do wind down before bed — dim the lights and read a book, rather than watching TV.
Do exercise — burn off any excess energy before bed to foster relaxation (but not too close to lights-out time).
Do get outside for afternoon walks and runs — exercise outdoors and exposure to natural light helps combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and can improve sleep.
Do cut down on takeaways — healthy eating is the key to good sleep, so less sugary and fatty foods and cutting down on the caffeine that is in tea and coffee will be good for adjusting.