How to beat the clock on Sunday

The clock change this weekend is the not-so-nice one, the one where we lose an hour's sleep rather than gain an extra hour. Hard as it may be, it will be better for your body clock if you get up at your usual time instead of compensating by snoozing for another hour.

Waking up to light provides the brain's clock with one of its strongest signals and creates a starting point for the daily rhythms controlling the highs and lows of energy, appetite, sleepiness and lots more. With this marker in place, around five hours after waking up you'll feel like lunch; after around 13 hours, melatonin levels start to rise so that you'll soon feel like going to bed. So if some weekends you switch on that brain clock around 10am (or maybe not until the afternoon - you know who you are!) you won't be ready to sleep until much later than normal. And then you end up shattered when you're back at work.

So here are some steps you can take to make this weekend's transition a bit easier. Ideally, you'll be using Bodyclock to provide your wake-up sunshine but throwing open the curtains, having breakfast in a bright room or getting outside soon after will all do the trick. However, unless you're camping (in March?) only Bodyclock gives your brain the sunrise trigger without having to get out of bed!

Throw back the sheets and wake up with light this Sunday!

This schedule is the same kind of plan you'd use to avoid jet lag, just dealing with a smaller time difference. It's for someone that generally goes to bed about 11pm and wakes up at 7am during the week, so adjust to suit you. Try this on the kids too so they're not wiped out on Monday.

  • Friday night Go to bed a bit earlier than usual if possible, even 10.30pm will help. You'll need it tomorrow...
  • Saturday morning Get up at 6.00am. Yes, it's Saturday... but think of all the extra stuff you'll get done. Get some bright light first thing. If you don't wake up with Bodyclock you could use one of our bright lights whilst you're having breakfast.
  • Saturday night After a long and action-packed day, you'll probably be glad to turn in at 10.00pm tonight. Remember to set your clock forward one hour.
  • Sunday morning You'll be ready to wake up around 6.00am... but the clock will say it's 7.00am, so you're back to your usual wake-up time.

It might seem as though you've simply lost an hour in bed on Saturday instead of Sunday but you'll have given yourself an extra day of adjustment. And on Sunday, when everyone else is moaning about lack of sleep, you'll be full of beans and be set up for a good night's sleep, ready for the week ahead.

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