This week it’s honour to have guest blogger Rachel McGuinness, ‘Go to Sleep’ Expert of Wake Up With Zest. Who is telling us all about sleep, and why it is important especially as we Spring Forward with the clocks this coming Sunday (26th March).
Rachel’s company Wake With Zest provides Health and Lifestyle advice for busy people. Helping you identify where you are going wrong with your health. And how we can go about to changing your eating behaviours, sleep and lifestyle habits, in order re-frame your life.
Here’s Rachel to tell us more about sleep, and the importance of it as we Spring Forward…
Wake Up With Zest
Soon it will be time to put our clocks forward for British Summer Time, YAY! Every spring time we move the clocks forward by an hour on the last Saturday night/Sunday morning in March. This year it’s on 26 March 2017.
Changing the clocks forward by an hour can mess with our body clock. Our internal sleeping mechanism – the circadian rhythm – is synchronised with the sun, and doesn’t change just because we decide to change our clocks. It in fact goes against thousands of years of human evolution. However, for some of us it can take up to a week to adjust after losing that hour.
All about our Sleep Cycle
Our circadian rhythm is the daily rhythm by which we live. A sleep cycle and a wake cycle related to the cycle of the sun. We become sleepy as the dark evening hours approach and wake up as the day begins. Everything is governed by the body’s biological clock deep within the brain.
However, our body clock is also responsible for the operation of other body functions like hunger, mental alertness, mood, stress, heart function and our immune system.
The body works on a 24 hour cycle and the input of daylight ‘resets’ the brain every day, and when we shorten this cycle to 23 hours, it affects us in a similar way to jet lag. That is, our body clock tells us it’s one time and the outside environment tells us it’s another. ‘Losing’ this hour can be more difficult for us to adjust to than ‘gaining’ an hour in the autumn.
However, a lot of people are already sleep deprived. Getting by on 6 hours sleep or less, and shifting their already frazzled body clock by another lost hour can often cause trouble.
Even though the evenings will become lighter, you will find yourself getting up in the dark once again for a few weeks. Something which not only will mess with your internal body clock, it will mess with your outward perception of time as well.
On Monday 27 March there will be a few really groggy people out there with decreased concentration, fatigue and general daytime sleepiness. Road traffic accidents increase by 10% on the Monday after clocks go forward!
How to overcome the Spring Forward Jet Lag
1. You should try going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night in the week running up to the clock change. This is so your internal body clock can slowly adjust to the one hour change.
2. Or one to two nights before the clocks go forward go to bed an hour earlier. This will be your new bed time.
3. As the evenings start to get lighter, make sure you keep your bedroom dark. Because it will be more difficult to get to sleep in a lighter room.
If you would like to discuss anything further with me about your sleep habits, or any health and lifestyle advice, please do get in contact through the Wake Up With Zest website.