Sleep tips for 'clock change' weekend
In preparation for the clocks going back one hour this weekend (at 2am Sunday, if you fancy staying up specially) Lumie sleep expert and chronobiologist at the world-leading Surrey Clinical Research Centre, Dr. Victoria Revell, has put together her top tips for better sleep.
Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule In other words, no lie-ins. Dr. Revell says, "Getting up at the same time every day - even on weekends - is really important for your sleep cycle; even more so than having a set bed time you stick to... though that's a good idea too."
Use a wake-up light Waking up with light helps to keep your internal clock synchronised and so will boost your mood and alertness. "Exposure to morning light provides a cue to the internal clock and ensures it remains synchronised to the 24-hour day. The lack of morning light in winter can result in the body clock getting drifting to a slightly later time which makes it difficult to wake up and get up for work or school at the required time. Using a wake-up light like Bodyclock Active - or a bright lightbox shortly after you get up - will prevent this from happening and help you to be ready for the day ahead."
Use a lightbox during the daytime Surprisingly, bright light during the day has an effect on our sleep. Dr. Revell suggests getting outside whenever possible to make the most of the daylight which you need to provide a clear daytime signal to the clock: "It's hard to come by so you have to grab it when you can. Even if that means just going out and walking around at lunch, a sunrise alarm to wake you up or a lightbox on your desk at work when you start to feel the afternoon slump. It's amazing what light can do to change the way you feel.
Avoid bright light two hours before bed "It's something that's getting worse with so many people using back-lit screens", she says "but bright light before bed confuses your body by signalling that you should still be active. This light will increase alertness and could delay your internal clock, making it hard to fall asleep and wake up the following morning. If you can, dim the lights for an hour or two before bedtime and avoid looking at screens for too long."
The bit about not lying-in will be hard but Dr. Revell emphasised "If you get up later than normal, your body clock begins to drift out of its set routine, which makes it harder for you to return to your weekday wake-up call after a holiday or even just following a weekend.". Looking (pun alert!) on the bright side, at least with the clocks going back this weekend, our body clock will need to delay to adapt to the new time; something most people will adjust to quickly since the majority have clocks that run slightly longer than 24 hours.