It’s really, truly Autumn now: leaves falling from the trees, pumpkin spiced latte in hand and the nights are drawing in. Perhaps most importantly, it’s the time of year when the clocks go back an hour and you might want to stay indoors with a mug of hot chocolate… or get yourself into that hot room to sweat and stretch!
Similar to jet lag; the change of an hour – either backwards or forwards can easily throw you off for a few days. They say that for each hour of jet lag, it takes one day to readjust. We investagite what you can do to combat this physical imabalance and get moving into Autumn with a Spring in your step.
When did this all begin?
In order to maximise light during the day, we effectively transfer an hour of daylight from the evening to the morning; which is the opposite of what happens in Spring. By doing this, we historically elongate the day giving more potential to working patterns benefiting the majority of people. This has been the case for over 200 years, with the UK joining other countries in Europe following a coal shortage in 1916. The reason behind this shift was to preserve energy.
How does the body adapt to the daylight saving time change?
It would seem that gaining an hour is easier to absorb than losing an hour in the Springtime. By changing the time, we are resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm; “circa” (about) “dian” (a day). A good rule of thumb, even for time changes in air travel, is that it takes one day to adjust for every hour of time lost or gained.
Why do we have daylight-saving time?
Since we live in a country where there are large shifts between Summer and Winter daylight hours, we love the extra sunlight in Summer, spending it outside in the park (or in beer gardens), giving that extra hour in Springtime means we can enjoy longer evenings. Similarly, when we ‘fall back‘ and gain an hour in Autumn, we have lighter, brighter mornings to help us out of bed and darker evenings, to set us up for winter hibernation. Economically, the extra daylight was also used to save costs on energy, fuel and candles.
Here are some great tips to help you stay balanced:
- Expose yourself to plenty of light. When it starts to get dark out early, turn on the lights around the house, he says, to remind your brain that it’s not quite time for bed. Get outside during the day, maybe during your lunch break, for natural light. If it’s too cold, open your blinds to at least let some sunshine into your home.
- Exercise late. Typically, experts don’t recommend working out too close to bedtime, but a late-afternoon or early-evening sweat session can help keep you energised during those dreary evenings.
- Try light therapy. You could try buying a small box to keep on your desk at the office, or for women to turn one on while putting on makeup in the morning. The gadget mimics natural sunlight, so a regular lamp won’t do the trick.
- Get into a Nighttime ritual. Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of routine now and again? In the days leading up to the clock change, try avoiding your phone screen after 8pm, take a warm shower and go to bed at the same time each night.
Following this Sunday, we’ll see lighter and brighter mornings – making it easier for you to jump out of bed for those 6.30am classes at Fierce Grace Brixton!