‘SNOOZE IT, DON'T LOSE IT' WHEN THE CLOCKS GO FORWARD

Don't sacrifice your sleep when the clocks go forward on Sunday March 29 2020! When it comes to the weekend's ‘lost hour', advice from The Sleep Council is to "snooze it rather than lose it."

Says chief advisor Lisa Artis: "Rather than lose an hour's sleep, shave it from the day and have an extra hour in bed, if you possibly can. Although it's only 60 minutes, it can affect our body clocks which in turn affects our sleep patterns."

Not so easy for those with small children who don't understand Daylight Saving Time adjustments! According to research from America*, whether the clocks go forward or back, around half of parents questioned said it affected their children. More than a quarter (29%) reported more difficulty getting children to sleep after the time change. And of those who reported bedtime challenges, 94% said it took two or more days to get youngsters back into their regular sleep pattern.

Said Lisa: "It can take people of any age, time to get back into a routine and that can impact on energy levels, general wellbeing and even productivity at work."

So, if you're among those unable to ‘snooze it rather than lose it', or are wondering how to steer children through the time change, try following The Sleep Council's top tips for taking on the clocks:

• Move bedtime a little earlier, by just 10 minutes or so, in the days approaching the clocks going forward. It won't seem too bad come Sunday when you lose those precious 60 minutes!

• With a change of natural light patterns, keep the bedroom as dark as possible. Light suppresses secretion of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. So, while it is important to expose yourself to natural light during the waking hours as much as possible, conversely, do not expose yourself to bright light when it is dark outside.

• Practice good sleep hygiene. Create a sleep-friendly environment that enhances your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep and sleeping well. This includes a cool temperature (around 16-18 degrees) and eliminating distractions (i.e. banning mobiles, tablets etc. in the hour before bed).

• It may sound simple, but make sure your bed is comfortable. It's difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that's too soft, too hard, too small or too old. If it's older than seven years, maybe use the weekend to look at replacing it.

• Try not to overindulge in caffeine, food and alcohol over the clock change weekend, as these all have a negative impact on sleep. Similarly, try to make sure young children don't over-indulge in sugary treats before bedtime as the ensuing sugar rush could keep them bouncing long into the night!

• If you can't sleep, don't lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing such as reading a book until you feel sleepy again - then go back to bed.

*Survey by the Better Sleep Council, published March 2017

The Sleep Council has lots more free tips and advice. For more information visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk

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