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Tips for when the clocks change

Female laying in bed, with yellow duvet covers
Whether it’s forward or back, adjusting the clock can sometimes cause disruption to your daily routine. Discover why we do this and how you can adjust with it!
As you’re probably aware, when the clocks ‘fall back’, we gain an extra hour in the morning. And when the clocks ‘spring forward’, we essentially loose an hour in the morning but gain longer, lighter evenings. However, does this slight shift of timings have a greater impact on us?

Let’s find out exactly what happens when the clocks change and how it can affect us. We’ll also explore the ways we can combat the effects of these annual time adjustments.

What happens when the clocks go forward?

In the UK the clocks go forward one hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March (unless that’s Easter Sunday).

When the clocks are one hour ahead, it’s called British Summer Time (BST). Meaning there’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).1

What happens when the clocks go back? 

When the clocks go back by one hour, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).2 This happens at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

We get less than eight hours of sunlight during the winter solstice, which occurs just before Christmas. Meaning, if we didn’t put the clocks back, sunrise would be after 9am and sunset before 5pm.3

Have you heard of ‘equinox’? It’s an event in which a planet’s subsolar point passes through its Equator. The equinoxes are the only time when both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere experience roughly equal amounts of both daytime and nighttime.4

The dates of when the clocks change line up roughly with the equinoxes, but with a slight bias towards keeping light evenings through September.5

Changes to our mood and health

Daylight Saving Time (DST) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) can affect our circadian rhythm, which is how our bodies regulate our body clock. With the sudden jolt of the clocks changing, our circadian rhythms can be thrown off. This can negatively affect mood, health, and productivity.6

Following a 24-hour cycle, our circadian rhythm changes are physical, mental, and behavioural. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark, and affect most living things, including animals, plants, and microbes.7

Keeping your sleep in check

Are you more likely to spring into action, or fall back to sleep?

The circadian clock will reset every 24 hours for most healthy adults.8

The Sleep Foundation suggests that during the days and weeks leading up to time changes, you can prepare yourself for the adjustment by taking the following precautions: 
  • practice good sleep hygiene (practices that can influence sleep for better or worse) 
  • establish a consistent sleep routine 
  • gradually alter your bedtime routine 
  • spend time outdoors 
  • nap in moderation 
  • don’t consume caffeine too close to bedtime9
However, if you’re still struggling, we offer a range of products that might provide a little helping hand when it comes to waking up and drifting off.

Cosy up in the evenings with a comforting mug of Twinings Superblends Sleep Tea. A spiced apple and vanilla flavoured herbal infusion with chamomile and passionflower. Smooth and warming, this sleep tea makes the perfect addition to your bedtime routine.

BetterYou Magnesium Sleep Spray 100ml combines magnesium with chamomile, bergamot, and clary sage to soothe the senses while giving a calming and relaxing effect.

One of the best essential oils for sleep, lavender is popularly recommended to those who find dropping off difficult.10 Try out Miaroma Lavender Pure Essential Oil 10ml and create a peaceful and calming experience in your bedroom that leaves your body relaxed and your mind soothed.

The Beurer Portable Daylight Therapy Lamp is medically recognised to improve the signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as well as help to improve energy levels.11 It's perfect to position on your desk at work or on your breakfast table. 

Lastly, most of us know that yoga can help us unwind and relax, while also helping us stay fit and healthy. But did you know there’s a type of yoga that’s capable of putting you into a yogic slumber? Check out What is bedtime yoga? – you might find this works for you!

The final say

Hopefully you’re feeling a bit more prepared for when the clocks change, whether that be with a newly adjusted morning or night-time routine, or by giving one of our recommended products a go.

For further questions on sleep head over to our article We answer your most googled questions on sleep!
If you really feel out of sync due to these time adjustments, or experience low mood as a result, then we advise that you speak to your GP. They can advise on what is best for you.
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