How to Sleep Well when the Clocks Change

As the nation prepares to adjust to the clock change on Sunday 28th October, many people will be dreading the adverse effect that this simple time shift will have on their ability to sleep. To help combat the clock change blues and to help those whose sleeping is poor at the best of times, we asked our sleep expert for her tips on adjusting to the clock change.

Christabel said: “Moving the clock back or forward means our biological clock is temporarily out of sync with the local day-night cycle and it takes time to adjust to this shift. It varies from person to person but it can take up to three days for the brain and body to adjust.”

Her top tips for adjusting to the clock change include;

  • Alter your bedtime and wake time gradually by 15 minutes each night, three nights before the change. Adjust the times by 15 minutes each day until you get to the clock change on Saturday night. It’s a good idea to do this with children too.
  • Get out into natural daylight as early as possible on the Sunday morning following the change, light suppresses the sleep inducing hormone Melatonin thus helping you adjust to clock change.
  • Avoid exposure to bright lights at night. Turn off phones and tablets which emit blue light which can interfere with the biological clock. If you wake in the night for a visit to the bathroom,  avoid switching on main lights using gentler side lights or night lights.
  • Don’t forget all the basic sleep hygiene guidelines: avoid nicotine and caffeine 4-6 hours before bed; only moderate alcohol in the evening; exercise during the day (but not vigorous exercise in the evening); wind down an hour before bed with relaxing activities; create a calm and safe sleep environment with comfortable bedding and a good quality mattress to suit your taste.

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