Sunday morning we will change the hour – 2 o’clock will become 3 o’clock. This changeover seems of little importance, because tell me, what does one hour more or less of sleep mean? Well, it does mean a world of difference. In the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep, we see a subsequent 24% increase in heart attacks that following day. In the autumn, when we gain an hour of sleep, we see a 21% reduction in heart attacks. A similar pattern can be seen in car accidents.
So you see that one hour less sleep can have quite an impact on our daily life.
How can you best tackle this shift in your biorhythm in the coming days?
Because simply getting into bed earlier is not always the solution…
We will have to adjust our biorhythms to the new ‘light situation’. By this we mean it’ll get lighter later in the morning and darker later at night. Your body will be slower to awaken from its sleep state because it is still dark and the sleep stimulus may be delayed in the evening because the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) is hindered by light.
Therefore, our sleep expert Toon shares a few tips:
Take in natural light
When getting up, try to take in as much natural daylight as possible as soon as possible.
Regularity is king
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time, no matter it is a weekday or the weekend.
Get up and go
If it is still dark when you get up, plan your first physical activity shortly after getting up in order to activate your body.
Fight the light at night
In the evening, end your day on time (both physically and mentally) and avoid unnecessary stimuli. Especially when the days are still lengthening, it may be that it is light longer than your normal ‘falling asleep time’. In that case, make sure it is dark inside (e.g. close your curtains, only dimmed lights) and avoid blue light (screens and bright white lights).
Prepare your brain for bed
Also give your brain a rest before you dive into bed. With the longer days, cognitive work is carried out later and many stimuli arrive later. So consciously take the time to unwind.
So consider sleep as Mother Nature’s best effort yet at immortality (to use Matt Walker’s words). As not sleeping enough for one night will cause a 70% reduction in Natural Killer cells, the same cells who are responsible for your immune system by attacking unwanted elements and eliminating them, your chances of developing numerous forms of cancer will definitely increase.
Your biorhythm will say otherwise, but there is also beauty to be found in Daylight Saving Time;
“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts.
We borrow an hour one night in April, we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”
— WINSTON CHURCHILL