Clock Change: ‘Fall Back’ and Feel Energised

Black alarm clock on snow covered ground
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The wintertime clock change is often met with celebration, with the extra hour in bed seeming like a Godsend for many of us on a sleepy Monday morning.

But after the initial joy of that extra hour, this alteration can actually have a negative impact. It may only be an hour’s difference, but this can throw your body clock off kilter for days afterwards. 

The clock change causes an unexpected shift in the external cues which help our internal body clock to maintain a 24-hour circadian rhythm track, such as light, temperature, exercise and food/drink intake. It can take several days for our internal biological clock to adjust, and for some people, this leads to disrupted sleep and feeling tired during the day.

If you’re struggling with fatigue and tiredness following the clock change, try not to worry as this can just exacerbate the problem. Instead, try these handy tips to help optimise your energy levels:

Young man in sleepwear suffering from headache in morning


  1. Establish a bedtime routine – When daylight saving time ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine. Routine is what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. By performing the same activities in the same order every night, your brain comes to see those activities as a precursor to sleep. Take a warm bath. Have a bedtime tea. Read a book. Whatever it takes to help you relax and unwind.
  2. Leave the Electronics Alone – Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.
  3. Get outside in the morning – Sunlight plays a powerful role in regulating our circadian rhythm. Just like darkness encourages sleep, getting bright light into your eyes soon after waking helps to reduce that melatonin to make you feel energised. Research suggests 10 minutes of natural light after waking is ideal, or 30 minutes on a cloudy day. Even better if it’s while exercising, to get the blood flowing to the brain for optimal focus.
  4. Avoid napping – Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But avoiding naps is key for adjusting to the time change, as long daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep.

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