Note: This post shares my tips for the clocks changing in autumn. Find out how to manage your sleep when the clocks go forward in spring.
Daylight Saving Time can make people feel the dread of winter, the darkness and cold evenings are not much to look forward to. However, it is the ideal opportunity to turn that 1 hour to your advantage and make the most of it.
There have been many studies on the average hours of sleep that we get but let’s just say, as a summary, it’s not enough! So now is the time to redress that and make sure the 1 hour is utilised to help you empty that stress bucket more than ever.
You’ll hear conflicting opinions on how the clocks going back will disrupt your sleep, or that you should ignore it altogether and use it as an opportunity to begin waking up earlier. As an advocate of sleep and how it can improve mental health, I believe we should be taking full advantage of the hour that we’ve been given – by sleeping more!
Sleep, in particular, REM sleep is the key to emptying your stress bucket. But it occurs in 5 cycles and waves interspersed with deep sleep through the night.
The real key fact is though that we do the most REM sleep in the last cycle, just before we wake up in the morning, that lighter dream sleep that you wake up from; that’s REM sleep. You’re doing the most ‘bucket emptying’ early in the morning.
So make the most of how sleep works to empty the stress bucket. With the clocks going back there is only 1 thing you need to do –
HAVE A LIE IN!
Yep, it’s as easy that. Take advantage and get that final cycle of massive REM sleep complete – the part you’ve probably been missing all summer (or maybe longer). You’ll feel so much better for it.
Here are 5 tips to ensure you make the most of the 1 hour to empty your stress bucket:
- Before you go to bed at night switch of your morning alarm – allow your body to get that extra sleep in without being disturbed. If you have kids though this may not be so easy so could you and your partner take a lie-in in turns; the one minding the kids should try and keep the noise down.
- Go to bed at your normal time though – don’t use the extra hour as an excuse to stay up late. The idea is to complete the 5 cycles of sleep – so don’t lose that extra hour for no reason.
- No phone or any other digital media in the bedroom. You do not need any other distractions to keep you alert or tempted to look at as you wake up. Remember you’re trying to have a lie-in.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool. Maximize the flow of melatonin ( the sleep hormone) that only likes to come out in the dark ( it’s often called the vampire hormone!)
- Are you lying comfortably? Make sure your mattress, pillows, covers and duvet all invoke a comfortable space. As well as improving your sleep overall it will encourage you to lie-in as well.
Make the most of daylight saving time this year to reset your sleep routine and take advantage of the free therapy that sleep provides. It will make a huge difference to your mental health.
Be Solution Focused about it and look at what you can achieve, don’t just focus on the negatives.
Maybe I’ll campaign to rename it National Bucket Emptying day!
As for when the clocks go forward in the spring – I’ll blog about that when the time comes.
For now, get some sleep!