Worried about adjusting for the end of daylight savings time?
On Sunday April 3rd, in the early hours of the morning, daylight savings time ends (unless you live in QLD, WA or NT). At 3am, clocks shift back an hour to 2am. If you are a good sleeper, you’re probably not reading this anyway, as you will generally be able to go to bed at your usual time (according to the clock), and get to sleep without a problem. However, if you have trouble sleeping, it’s important to have a plan to minimise the impact of this change on your sleep.
What problems might I have?
With the clock shifting back an hour, the most common problems people run in to are:
- Feeling sleepy before it’s your usual time to go to bed
- Waking earlier than their usual time
- Being anxious about what will happen with sleep
Shifting the clock back 1 hour, is the same as shifting your entire schedule 1 hour later, or travelling 1 time zone to the west.
Going to bed
With the new time being 1 hour earlier, it’s likely that you will begin to feel sleepy before the clock comes around to your usual bed time. As long as it’s not more than 1 hour before the time you would usually go to bed, you can go to bed when you feel sleepy. It’s likely that you’ll fall asleep OK.
Over the next few days, as you begin to feel sleepy later, you can shift the time you go to bed later. This could be in half hour steps, or if you are more cautious go to bed 15 minutes later each day, and in 4 days you will have adjusted to the new time.
Most people can shift their body clock up to an hour earlier each 24 hours without much effort. We see this when we travel across time zones. Going from Melbourne to Auckland, a 2 hour earlier shift, generally takes a only two days or so to adjust to.
Getting up in the morning
It’s likely that you’ll wake earlier than your usual waking time, as with the time change, this will be an hour later. However, over a few days, this will shift and you’ll find yourself gradually sleeping later and later until your body clock adjusts to the new time.
- Not get concerned if you wake before your usual waking time. This is to be expected and will gradually shift over a few days
- If you are awake in bed before your waking / alarm time, either rest comfortably until your alarm goes, or if you are very awake and restless or your mind is racing, get up and start your day.
Getting anxious about changes to sleep
People who have trouble with sleep can get anxious about changes to their sleep routine. They sometimes have very careful routines around sleep that they put in place to minimise the impact of day to day variations on sleep. When changes to these routines are forced upon them it can result in sleep-related anxiety.
The best way to address sleep-related anxiety, anticipating threats to sleep, is to have a plan and understand how sleep works, so that you can feel confident that although there will be some changes to sleep for a few days, it will quickly settle down and get back to normal.
What about my kids?
Children can take a few days to adjust to the changed time as well. This may mean they will be up earlier than usual, or have trouble settling at night for a few days. They will respond to the same measures as adults, so use the strategies above to help them shift to the new time with minimal fuss and impact on their or the family’s sleep.
- Have a plan to manage insomnia
- Sleep hygiene measures
- Rules about sleep – don’t be too strict
- Daylight savings time dates and time zones for Australia
Need more information about how you can sleep better?
At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.