This year's clock change falls on Sunday, 29th March. With the country in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the usual joy associated with the extended daylight hours and evenings spent outside socialising has been put on hold. And although this clock change may be the most unusual one to date, it can still shake up your daily routine, even under these unprecedented circumstances.
While typically our body clock can lag for a few days as it adjusts to the clocks going forward by an hour, the likelihood is your sleep/wake cycle is already slightly out of whack due to the recent changes to your schedule, such as working from home or home-schooling your children. Even though you may not need to get up extra early for a commute, early shift or school run, chances are you’ve been waking up at dawn learning to manage your ‘new normal’ as you adjust to your #stayathome routine. If that’s the case, you may still feel the effects of this lost hour’s sleep in the coming week. And should you choose to hit the snooze button on Sunday, you will only disrupt your body clock further. Instead, the trick is to advance your body clock back by an hour in the run up to clock change.
“When the clocks spring forward our body clock can struggle to adapt to the lost hour. Morning light acts to help our body clock to shift earlier in time, adapting to the change in time, and synchronise the clock to the new sleep/wake schedule. This crucial light signal can be provided both by a light box on awakening and a dawn simulator when light gradually increases during the last part of sleep.” Dr Victoria Revell, Circadian Rhythm Expert, University of Surrey
This clock change plan is based on a typical routine of bedtime at 11pm and wake-up at 7am – simply adjust to your own sleep pattern as necessary.
Step 1: Saturday am – get up about half an hour earlier than usual (6.30am). If you’re using Lumie Bodyclock, the gradual sunrise should help to make it less painful!
Step 2: Saturday night – go to bed about 10.30 pm, ideally using the sunset feature on Bodyclock to help you wind down. If you’re using one of our newest Bodyclock Luxe models, you can benefit further from the low-blue light feature which makes the light non-alerting. Imposing an electronics curfew by 9.30pm and/or switching on your devices’ low-blue light function if they have one will also help. The earlier than normal start should mean that you are extra tired and able to sleep earlier than usual. Remember to put your clock forward by an hour!
Step 3: Sunday am – wake up at 6am (BST 7am) and get up straight away, resisting the urge to snooze.
Getting some light first thing will also help, ideally by going outside for an early walk or run. If your lifestyle makes that impossible, then the next best solution is to use a bright light like Lumie Arabica or Lumie Vitamin L; the light signal triggers your brain to stop producing the sleep hormones like melatonin and to increase production of the get up and go ones like cortisol. You can then use a bright light during the day whenever you need a boost in your mood or energy.