Coping with the clocks going back
If you’re reading this, it’s probably nearly the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but that magical moment when we get an extra hour to our day. We thought we’d give you a helping hand with tips for adjusting to the clock change - and some examples of what not to do if you don’t want to turn up at work early.
Why do the clocks change, anyway?
Fair question - and one we hear (and ask) a lot.
When the clocks go forward in summer, it’s called Daylight Savings Time. It used to be known as The Summer Time Act 1916, and it came into play in - yep - 1916.
Although he wasn’t the first person to come up with the idea, The Summer Time Act was the results of a campaign by a chap called William Willett, a builder. He suggested that by putting clocks forward in the spring, then adjusting them back to ‘normal’ in winter, people would have more energy and spend more quality time outside in the day as we’d have more sunlight on summer evenings (and sleep away an extra dark hour in the morning in winter).
In that sense, when the clocks go back in the UK, we’re actually ‘returning’ to ‘normal’ time (otherwise known as Greenwich Mean Time) - the time we used to follow all year round. This is the time it was before we put the clocks forward in summer (known as British Summer Time).
While most of us are thinking how great it’ll be to catch up on those precious Zs when winter comes, we wouldn’t be sleep experts if we didn’t warn you that it’s actually really easy to mess up your sleeping pattern with that extra hour if you’re not careful (it’s all to do with the connection between light and sleep). But we’re not here to ruin the party. Instead, we’ve gone digging through the Twittersphere for pearls of wisdom from last year, so we can avoid making the same clangers as these guys.
How to cope with the clocks going back
When the time changes in winter, it happens at 2am when you’re (hopefully) sound asleep. So instead of the hour hand hitting ‘two’, it falls back an hour instead, and goes back to ‘one’.
This can feel like a mental minefield to say the least. How can a whole hour just… disappear? It doesn’t, of course - it’s just the number we see on the clock that changes.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop us from making mistakes. Most digital clocks adjust between Greenwich Mean Time and British Summer Time automatically, but if you have an analogue clock - or your stuff just runs out of battery - you can easily find yourself turning up at the supermarket an hour before it opens.
Here’s how to stop the confusion.
1. Remember “Spring forward, fall back”
If you don’t have a smartphone that changes the time automatically, remember to turn the clocks back one hour. The famous saying ‘spring forward, fall back’ works for a reason - the clocks go forward in spring, and back in fall (that’s autumn to us).
You’ll probably hear about the clocks changing a few days before it happens. Although the time change seems to slip from our collective consciousness quite easily, many employers will give you the head-up, and you’ll hear about it on TV as well. Most of the time, anyway. Hopefully.
2. Do it the night before
The last thing you want is to waste that precious bonus hour working out how to actually change your clocks.
Even though the time won’t change until 2am, we don’t recommend waiting until the morning to put your clocks back (i.e. when the time has already changed). Do it before you go to bed instead, so you know you’re looking at the right time when you wake up.
If you are going to change your clocks, make sure you cover all of them. That means not just paying attention to your alarm clock - do your oven timer and car clock as well (although it admittedly does feel like rocket science without the instruction manual). If you only do half the job, confusion will reign.
3. Prepare for your pets to be confused
If you’re the proud owner of a new pet, congratulations! Funny thing about animals though: they can’t tell the time. When they’re hungry, they’re hungry. Your cat, dog, or other pet obviously has no idea what time the clocks show, and there’s no way they’re going to understand the change in their schedule. Your dog’s used to getting their meal at a certain hour - which they can probably tell by how light it is inside, or when the boiler comes on - and when the clocks don’t line up with that, they might demand their food an hour earlier instead.
You could spend a few days before the clock changes gradually pushing dinnertime back by fifteen minutes until they’re eating on Greenwich Mean Time, but if you don’t want to do that, it won’t take them long to get into their new routine.
4. Give in to an early night
Getting an extra hour also means that in the evening, it will get dark earlier. That could mess with your sleep pattern and, as a result, how rested you feel the next morning. Our social team found that more people tweet with the words ‘tired’ or ‘sleepy’ the Monday after a time change. Coincidence? We think not.
Staying up for even an extra hour can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm if we’re not used to it, so there’s no shame in going to bed an hour ‘earlier’ by the clock than you usually would. Your body will gradually adjust the routine, we promise - until the clocks change again, of course.
5. Beware of time-ception
If you did the ingenious thing of not changing your clocks forward six months ago, watch out. While you saved yourself some time by just adding an hour in your mind, you may find yourself getting the time wrong on Saturday because you’re so used to adding that extra hour automatically. Equally, if you forget to change your clocks before you go to bed, you’re likely to wake up an hour earlier than you need to. On the plus side, at least your boss will see how keen you are to get to work.
If in doubt, go by the time on your mobile. Unless you have a seriously old model or the calendar is out of sync, the time should adjust itself, and you’ll avoid any mishaps.
So there it is - five easy ways to deal with the clocks going back in winter. We don’t know about you, but we’ll be spending our extra hour stretched out on the perfect combination of foam and pocket springs on our Simba Hybrid® Mattress. What will you do with your extra hour? Let us know!