This Is What Happens To Your Body When The Clocks Go Forward

It's that time of year again...
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It might not seem like it right now, but spring is fast approaching. The leaves and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom on trees, the days are slowly starting to get longer, and the weather, well, that’s pretty much still the same.

But with the longer days and prolonged hours of sunlight, it means that we’re soon going to turn the clocks forward by an hour, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time and the beginning of British Summer Time.

On March 26, we will be gaining an extra hour of sunlight, but we’ll also be losing an entire hour of sleep. And even though it doesn’t seem like it, this shift of an hour can affect our bodies quite a bit.

Dr. Hana Patel, the sleep expert at Time4Sleep has explained to HuffPost UK what happens to our bodies when the clocks change and what we can do to ease the transition.

“When the clocks change, our circadian rhythm - the internal body clock that helps regulate our hormones and temperature - has to re-calibrate, and it can take a few days for our body to adjust to our new sleep cycle,” explains Dr. Patel.

Lack of sleep can cause our bodies immense stress. This can lead to increased hunger, irritability and lack of concentration. The clocks going forward can lead to an increased number of heart attacks and strokes, she adds.

To combat the effects of the clocks going forward, Dr. Patel says that preparation is key.

“If you’re worried about your Monday start, make the move early and change your clocks on Saturday morning instead of Sunday. This gives your sleep cycle the full weekend to adapt,” she says.

In the case of children, who are not as used to sleep cycle adjustments as adults are, Dr. Patel advises that parents should make sure they’re consistent with their child’s waking times rather than when they go to bed.

She also recommends getting as much sunlight into your room as possible as it helps regulate the sleep cycle.

“For people who find it difficult to wake up in the mornings, allowing sunlight into your bedroom will help you wake naturally, making you feel more alert,” she explains.

Another hack to help you get your sleep cycle back on track is to go on a digital detox during bedtime, so limit your technology intake as much as you can.

“Cutting out stimulants helps improve sleep around the clocks changing, and aids in the resetting process, allowing us to adapt to this change with ease,” she adds.

Easing into the transition can help us ensure we’re not disrupting our sleep cycles even marginally, and allow us to enjoy the extra hour of sunlight losing an entire hour of sleep would bring us. Well, whatever little sunlight England has to offer.