If you live in a state that observes daylight savings, you might be interested in knowing whether daylight savings affects your sleep. And if it does, what you can do about it.
If you live in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania or the ACT then you’ll be used to setting your clocks forward one hour on the first Sunday in October, to initiate daylight savings and putting them back an hour on the first Sunday in April, when daylight savings comes to an end.
But what you may not know is how daylight savings affects your sleep.
Moving the clocks forward (to daylight savings)
While you may be excited about adjusting your clocks, daylight savings can affect your sleep. In fact, gaining an extra hour of daylight means that you may actually lose more than one hours’ sleep.
One of the difficulties is due to our circadian rhythm. This is a natural, internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, which repeats around every 24 hours. This circadian rhythm explains why you’re more likely to feel alert in the morning, and notice a dip in energy just after lunchtime. Your circadian rhythm is timed to match the cycle of light and darkness. However, daylight savings can disrupt this cycle because you suddenly need to wake up when your body is programmed for sleep, and you’re programmed to be awake when the clock tells you it’s time for bed.
As a result, it can take up to a week for you to adjust to the new sleep patterns. In the meantime, sleep disruption can lead to decreased productivity, alertness and mood. It may also increase your risk of feeling drowsy at inopportune moments (e.g. while driving or in meetings).
Adjusting your bedtime for three or four nights before transitioning to daylight savings can help you cope better when the clocks move forward.
Moving the clocks backward (away from daylight savings)
Moving your clocks back an hour isn’t nearly as disruptive to our sleep patterns as we ‘gain’ an extra hour of sleep. The time at which we turn our clocks back is also autumn, when it naturally gets darker earlier anyway, which can prompt us to get into bed a bit earlier as well. And the mornings will be lighter, which means it’s easier to get out of bed.
Most people adjust to moving their clocks back, after just one night.
Who is most affected by daylight savings?
If you already struggle to get enough sleep, do shift work, or have a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnoea, you may find that daylight savings affects your sleep more than others. Children can also take longer to adjust than adults, particularly as they may find it harder to understand the concept of time change, and may be confused as to why they need to go to bed when it’s still light outside.
Tips to reduce the effect of daylight savings on your sleep
The Sleep Health Foundation recommends the following to help you adjust to daylight saving time
- Make your bedroom as bright as possible when you first wake up in the morning
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Go outside in the sunlight in the early mornings
- Exercise outside in the mornings
- Try to get between seven to nine hours sleep each night
- Don’t exercise just before going to bed
- Avoid coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks in the evening, and smoking just before bed or during the night
- Don’t go to bed hungry or too soon after eating a large meal
- Go to bed 15 -20 minutes earlier for three to four days before putting the clocks forward
- Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier on weekend mornings in preparation for the early start on Monday
Don’t forget to ensure your sleep is good quality by sleeping on a supportive mattress. At Bedguard, we have a range of highly supportive waterproof mattresses to suit people of all ages. So while you may not be able to do much about daylight savings, you can make sure that you’re sleeping on the right mattress for you.
Browse our range today.