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How to overcome energy dips when the clocks change

Siski Green / 24 March 2015 ( 12 October 2017 )

Our tips on how to manage clock change transitions and start every morning with a spring in your step.

Dark winter morning
Read our tips to ensure a smooth transition into the week after the clocks change.

Get started a day or two before the change

On Friday or Saturday, adjust your wake time to half an hour earlier. Use a socket timer on your bedside table so that the light comes on at that time, or invest in a specially designed light-therapy clock, such as the Lumie Bodyclock, which comes on gradually like a sunrise.

If you can’t do either, open your curtains after you turn out the light so you get natural light in your bedroom in the morning.

As early as possible, head outside to get sunlight on your skin. Even if the sky is overcast the light will help your body recognise that this is the time to be awake.

10 reasons to get outdoors

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Go to bed earlier over a couple of days

Make sure you get some exercise during the daytime too to ensure you’re tired at night. Then hit the bed half an hour earlier than you usually do too. Do the same the following day until you’re waking up an hour earlier. By adjusting your wake and sleep hours gradually like this, come Monday morning the earlier waking time will be far less of a shock to your body.

10 reasons to get a good night's sleep

Ensure a smooth transition into the week after the clocks change

Remember, though, that the week following the clock change may also feel tougher than usual. Even if you’ve planned for it, your body may still take time to adjust to the different light/dark hours and you might feel out of sync for a few days.

Some people may feel emotionally low and others, despite losing an hour of shut-eye, will find it more difficult to sleep. This is all a result of the disruption to your body’s natural bodyclock. What’s more, people who already have sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnoea will suffer the most.

How to beat insomnia

How to beat fatigue in the week after the clocks change

The answer? Re-educating your body to adjust to the new daylight hours. So spend as much time outdoors in natural light as possible.

Do daily exercise (in the morning, if possible, as late afternoon exercise can also disrupt sleep) so that you are physically tired at the end of the day.

Snack on protein such as turkey or cheese, along with a small portion of carbs before bed (crackers, for example). You need carbs to break down trytophan, found in turkey and cheese, which is an amino acid that promotes sleep.

Also eat foods with vitamin B6 such as bananas, and salmon or tuna, as the vitamin essential for making melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.

21 ways to beat the seasonal slump

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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