Daylight saving time: Why are the clocks changed twice a year?
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We’ve reached the end of British Summer Time, with the clocks turning back an hour to mark the start of shorter days and darker mornings. While many of us may be glad to gain an extra hour in bed, our bodies may be thrown off slightly by this change in time. This can leave us feeling groggy, and more tired than usual.
The change in time can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythms – 24 hour cycles that are part of our body’s internal clock.
With this in mind, sleep expert at mattress brand Sealy – Alison Jones – shared some tips that will help you to avoid feeling groggy and tired following the end of daylight savings.
Resist the temptation to nap or lie in
With natural daylight not waking us up as it does in the summer, the winter months can bring temptation to have an extra hour or so in bed, especially factoring in the cold and wet weather.
However, this can do more harm than good when it comes to our sleep routines – as sleeping for longer than usual can send your natural body clock out of balance, which can make falling asleep at night more difficult.
The same applies for napping in the day, which can disrupt your natural sleep schedule.
Napping is best avoided if you’re very sensitive to time changes or are getting consistently poor-quality sleep at night.
If you do need some extra rest during the day, the ideal “power nap” should only last around 20 to 30 minutes (ideally between 1pm and 2pm) as this can help to recharge your body and improve alertness.
Make time for the outdoors
With the nights becoming longer and darker, the amount of time we spend in daylight starts to decrease.
The sun starts to set as early as around 4pm on the shortest day of the year.
With this in mind, it is important to make a habit of spending ample amounts of time outdoors during the daylight hours.
Not everyone has the luxury of spending all of their free time outside, especially people who work in an office or spend the majority of their day indoors.
However, spending some time outdoors is better than none at all.
Researchers have advised that spending even a small amount of time outdoors, away from artificial light, can have a positive effect on your sleep schedule, enabling your body to align to the natural light pattern.
Create the perfect sleep sanctuary
Having the perfect sleep environment should never be underestimated, and even more so when the clocks change and your body is out of its normal routine.
Try to prepare your room as best you can in readiness of winding down for the evening.
This could include lighting some candles, playing some calming music or even dimming the lights – as these can all help to signal to your body that it’s bedtime.
Having a supportive, comfortable mattress should also be considered when creating the perfect sleep sanctuary.
In addition to comfort, you should look to create an environment that provides maximum support too.
Sleeping on a mattress that truly supports you, helps to relieve pressure on the body which in turn stops you tossing and turning through the night.
This creates a deeper, more restful sleep as you are inevitably waking up less frequently.
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