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How to get enough sleep when the clocks go forward

The clocks spring forward on Sunday (March 25th) at 1am. The lost hour can hit hard in an already sleep-deprived busy lifestyle. And not quite adjusted to the new earlier bedtime, many of us turn up to work on Monday feeling tired and groggy.

Our resulting lack of concentration and focus is possibly best demonstrated by the fact that in the USA the Monday following the summer time clocks change has the second highest level of road traffic accidents in the year – second only to Remembrance Weekend, when almost half of the accidents are due to alcohol rather than lack of sleep.

Sleep expert Dave Gibson, founder of has sent us some tips as we approach the time change this weekend.

“The key is to ease yourself through the clocks change using this simple three-step time increment routine so you wake up, fully adjusted, in the new time zone on Sunday morning.

1)         “Thursday – Stop all caffeine Thursday afternoon, this restriction will allow you to sleep better that evening and set up a more relaxed start to Friday.

2)         “Friday – Go without caffeine all day. This will make it easier to get to sleep half an hour earlier on Friday evening. Valerian, a herb which is proven to help make you feel tired in either tea-bag, tincture, or capsule form, will also help. Take it about 30-45 minutes before your planned bedtime. Or take camomile tea as a substitute.

3)         “Saturday – You have now adjusted to a time zone that is half an hour earlier than your norm. You should adjust all your meals half an hour earlier, too. Throughout the day, try adding pro-biotics or eating natural yoghurt that contains them. Pro-biotics are proven to help those with sleep problems to get a better night’s sleep by promoting healthy gut flora. Saturday evening, shift your bedtime another half hour earlier. This means you are now one whole hour forward. Again take valerian to make yourself sleepier or if you can’t because of medical reasons then try taking a warm bath with lavender or use drops on your pillow. Also try a short meditation before bed.

“On Sunday morning you can wake up refreshed, as you will be in the new time zone without losing any sleep. All your meal times will also naturally fall into place, and you have no need to worry about whether you can manage to get to bed on time Sunday night as you will already be in sync with British Summer Time (BST). So you’ll be well prepared and ready to get to work feeling refreshed on Monday.

“Use this period and technique to adopt a new sleep regime, moving your bedtime to one where you can wake up refreshed every day without the use of an alarm. Ultimately, ditching the alarm clock is the fail-safe way of making sure you are getting enough sleep so you can be alert and focused throughout the day.”

David Gibson Sleep Expert:

(Registered Osteopath, Naturopath and Hypnotherapist)

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