Search icon


28th Oct 2023

What you can do now to avoid tiredness when the clocks go back


I think we will all welcome that extra hour in bed!

Come Sunday (October 29th), we will gain an extra hour in bed when the clocks go back, writes Jody Coffey.

While this sounds like more energy, a sleep expert shares that the clocks changing can actually create a number of problems when it comes to falling asleep and waking up.

However, there are a few parts of your bedtime routine that you can begin to alter now for you and your family to avoid any unwanted ripple effects of the time change in your household.

Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist, neuroscientist and sleep expert for And So To Bed, recommends starting to slightly change bedtimes over the next couple of days.

“If you don’t alter your bedtime before the clocks change, you may find that you wake up too early and find yourself tossing and turning in bed until your alarm goes off.

“This can leave you feeling tired during the day, as though you didn’t have a good night’s sleep,” Dr. Browning explains.

More handy sleeping tips as clocks go back

To help overcome this, she suggests opening the curtains the moment you wake and allowing light into the room.

To get your internal clock accustomed to the extra hour, Dr. Browning also recommends changing each of the household meals to a little later each day. This will limit the impact the extra hour will have on our bodies internally.

As the dull evenings are about to get darker even earlier now, getting out of the house around mid-morning and lunchtime will get you some much-needed sunlight exposure and light exercise before nightfall.

Dr. Browning’s next piece of advice is one we should probably maintain all year long, and if you have small children, may not be possible.

She says we should avoid caffeine after about 2pm, since caffeine has a 6 hour half-life – meaning caffeine is still in your system many hours after you savour your last sip of liquid energy.

This, can, however, impact how quickly you fall asleep, which will just roll into the next day and cause another host of tiredness-related issues.

Lastly, the sleep expert says we should practise ‘good sleep hygiene’. This means avoiding bright lights in the evening from your phone and laptop – I am super guilty of this one.

Sadly, these can disrupt your natural production of melatonin, as well tricking the brain into thinking it is day time which can make it difficult to transition into sleep mode when bedtime rolls around.

She recommends reading a book or meditating before you sleep instead.

Related articles:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge