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How the clock changes can affect your sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is really important for your health, in fact it’s as essential as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Sleeping well allows your body and your mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up the next day. People who have poor sleep can suffer from weight gain, heart problems, a poor immune system, increased stress levels, as well as poor mental health.
If you are a poor sleeper the recent clock changes may have upset your sleeping routine again and even for those people who do sleep well they too may have noticed that their sleeping pattern has been disrupted.
Moving the clocks either backwards in the autumn or forwards in the spring upsets our natural circadian rhythm resulting in our internal clock getting out of sync with our day-night cycle. Many of us find the autumn change a lot easier to handle than the spring one as we are quite simply, losing time. People who have early starts could once again find themselves waking up in the dark, which is hard for our bodies and minds to adapt to.
But there are things you can do to help your body and mind adjust to the clock change. These top tips may also help those of you who suffer regularly from a bad night’s sleep.
The clock change is similar to jetlag and it is generally understood that it takes about one day to adjust to one hour of time change. If you are finding it hard to adjust, start by changing the time you go to bed and the time you wake up by 15 minutes each day.
Light is an environmental cue for our bodies to either wake up or go to sleep. When we are exposed to light our bodies suppress the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. During the day get as much natural daylight as you possibly can by getting outside or working by windows with natural daylight. At night-time do the opposite and keep lights low and dimmed.
Relaxation should be part of your bedtime routine so that you do not go to bed stressed or feeling too energetic. Relaxing routines such as having a warm bath, writing lists to calm and clear your mind, relaxation exercises, reading a book or listening to music can help you calm down and prepare your body for sleep. You should also avoid looking at screens and electronic devices for an hour before you go to bed.
Your bedroom should be dark to help your body start to produce melatonin. Shutters are a great way to block out the light plus they have the added benefit of helping to keep noise at bay so your room will also be quiet. We have a range of shutter styles available which includes solid shutters, a perfect choice for the bedroom.
Try to avoid using your bedroom for working or exercise as this can muddle your brain into thinking that your bedroom isn’t just for sleeping. Keep electronic gadgets to a minimum, avoid switching on the TV before you get into bed and finally keep your bedroom tidy and uncluttered.
If your mental health and well-being are starting to suffer from lack of sleep, visit the NHS website for further help and advice: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/