Updated: Apr 9, 2019
SPRING FORWARD IT'S TIME TO CHANGE YOUR BODY CLOCK 31.3.2019
With British Summer Time beginning this weekend, we spring forward into lighter mornings and the start of the longer days. However, this also means the loss of one hour’s sleep. You need to get to sleep because your alarm will be going off at 6am but your body will still think it’s 5am. Don’t under estimate how important that one hour is to your health, physical and mental. The more you think about how much you must get to sleep, the harder it is to do so. So you toss and turn for what seems like hours, fretting knowing the alarm will be going off before you know it. But why does one hour make such a difference to your sleep?
Do you often struggle with sleep?
Do you go to bed at night exhausted? Do you turn off the light climb into bed your head hits the pillow and then your mind starts racing? Do you toss and turn and then get more wound up as you cannot get to sleep? Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep but don’t even know why?
Don’t worry, you are not alone, we live in a time where our lives are 24-7, our mobiles are never off (unless the battery dies), emails never stop, there are chores to be done, family to care for, work to be done, let’s face it – there are simply not enough hours in the day. On top of all that we are constantly worried and stressed, even about things we shouldn’t.
Why do we need sleep?
Sleep, we all need it. It is the biggest single contributor to living better1. As adults we need between 6 to 9 hours. Why? Our bodies go to work at night repairing and rebuilding us as we sleep. Sleep helps your body function, it helps improve your mood, helps boost our brain power and increase our memory and concentration. It is also greatly benefits our physical health and even our weight can be affected by lack of sleep as our appetite hormones change (see there really is a reason for midnight binges).
Why can this one hour affect us so much?
Our bodies are built with an internal clock. This is often referred to as the circadian rhythm, or our sleep/wake cycle or body clock. Understanding this is the first step to better sleep. This helps us to naturally regulate our feelings and need for sleep or for wakefulness (dependant on the light or the dark outside) over a 24-hour (24.5 to be exact) period.
With the way we run our lives these days, we have learnt to ignore and override these natural instincts, by using artificial lights, stimulus like TV and gadgets, and even working odd shifts and working too many hours. This has led to us having ‘sleep deficits’ and therefore the changes in the time saving system, with the spring 1-hour deduction, only leads to our body clocks becoming even more confused!