On Sunday 31st March 2019, Mother’s Day, daylight savings will begin and midnight will instantly become 1 am. That may mean a lost hour of sleep for some which can cause grogginess… and lateness, if you forget to update your clocks.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at why the clocks change and how you can avoid daylight savings time sleep problems.
Why Do the Clocks Change?
Way back in 1784, American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin suggested if people got up earlier, it would be lighter, and would, therefore, save on candles. This was brought to the UK and encouraged by a builder called William Willett in 1907 when he published a leaflet called The Waste of Daylight.
The idea of moving the clocks back and forward was discussed by the government in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1916 that it was introduced to improve productivity during the First World War.
Today, the clocks change between the last Sunday of March and the final Sunday of October at 01:00 GMT.
Effects of Daylight Savings on the Body
A one-hour change may not seem drastic, but some people report feeling discombobulated during the change, especially if they already suffer from sleep problems. This feeling of jet lag is caused by the body’s internal clock, the circadian rhythm, being knocked off-kilter which results in less sleep-inducing melatonin being released.
Generally, losing an hour in spring will affect you more than gaining an hour in autumn. However, it is not the change itself, but the lost hour which makes a difference. A study by the University of Michigan found that the number of people who have heart attacks increases by 24% the Monday after DST, and then decreased by 21% the Monday after it ends. Whereas tiredness induced traffic accidents are also said to increase following the start of DST.
How to Minimise the Impact of Daylight Savings Time
It can take a few days to adjust, but you can minimise the impact by doing the following:
Watch Your Diet – Did you know certain foods and drinks can aid and prevent sleep? Consuming more of the former can help to minimise the impact of daylight savings time sleep problems.
Gradually Transition – The impact of the lost hour of sleep will be lessoned if you are well-rested. Therefore, it is important to go to bed earlier and maximise rest in the days running up to daylight saving.
Get out of Bed – If you find yourself lying awake at night for more than 30 minutes, get up and out of bed. Go to another room and try some relaxing activities such as reading or having a bath. Make sure to keep the lights and sound low.
Consider Taking a Nap – If you’re particularly exhausted, take a short nap. However, don’t sleep for too long or too close to bedtime as this can affect your circadian rhythm further.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable
Whether it’s during daylight saving or elsewhere in the year, having a comfortable and supportive mattress could be the difference between a good and bad night’s slumber. So, if your mattress is old, misshapen or unsupportive, it may be time to upgrade. Check out our range of UK-made mattresses today.