How to prepare for the end of daylight saving

Alarm clock showing the time going backwards

The end of daylight saving is almost upon us! If you’re like most people you love a bit of a sleep in, so rolling back the clocks on Sunday night can feel like you’re going to gain an extra hour of sleep on Monday morning. Last week’s 6 am according to your body clock is now suddenly 5 am. Time to celebrate right? Maybe not.

In this article, we’ll discuss why we have daylight saving in New Zealand and if shifting our clocks just one hour this April can have an impact on your sleep and wellbeing.

When does daylight saving end?

 

The end of daylight saving occurs in Autumn. This year in New Zealand, our clocks will be rolled back by 1 hour on Sunday 3rd April at 3:00am. In countries such as the USA who use the term Fall instead of Autumn, the phrase ‘fall back’ is used as a reminder to turn clocks back one hour. On the flip side, when daylight saving starts, we will often see the term Spring forward.

Thanks to digital technology and WIFI internet connections, most of us don’t actually have to do anything to change our clocks; overnight things like our mobile phones and computers will automatically update. That said, many Kiwi’s struggle with the clock on their car’s dashboard. We all have that friend who’s car’s time is only correct for six months of the year

Why do we have daylight saving?

 

The simple reason why we have daylight saving is to make the best use of the daylight available in summer. Between September and March, an hour of daylight is take from the morning and added to the end of the day. This gives us essential daylight needed to enjoy the warmer outdoor weather of the summer months; after work BBQ’s and evening trips to the beach are all made possible thanks to daylight saving.

Not all countries have daylight saving either. Countries near the Earth’s equator have an even split of light and dark; in other words their day and night are approximately the same length in time. But since NZ is closer to the south pole, there’s far more daylight in summer compared to winter. This means that daylight saving isn’t helpful to countries near the equator.

There are also some people who claim that daylight saving actually helps reduce energy consumption. Power companies in New Zealand found that power usage decreases by about 5% when daylight saving commences because less electricity is being used for lighting and appliances (1). Less electricity was believed to be needed because people stayed home fewer hours during the “longer” days of spring and summer. Most Kiwis plan outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours and of course, when people aren’t home, they don’t switch on the appliances and lights.

Is it called daylight “saving” or “savings”?

 

According to the website almanac.com the right term is “Daylight Saving Time“ and not “Daylight Savings Time” (with an extra “s”), though many of us are guilty of speaking it the wrong way. The technical explanation is that the word “saving” is singular since it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.

New Zealand’s daylight saving history

 

New Zealand first observed daylight saving in 1927 however the dates and time difference were changed a few times over the next several years. Then in 1946, daylight saving was discontinued in New Zealand and replaced with New Zealand summertime. It wasn’t until the mid 70’s when daylight saving was trialed again and eventually re-introduced in 1975.

Ten years later, in 1985 the NZ government surveyed Kiwis to get a clear picture of the public attitudes towards daylight savings and as a result, daylight saving time was extend twice over the years.

Finally in 2006 a public debate raged over daylight saving and a petition to extend daylight saving was presented to Parliament. The petition was passed and now New Zealand observes daylight saving from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April.

New Zealanders attitude to daylight saving

 

In 2008 a survey was conducted to ask New Zealanders how they feel about daylight savings. According to the survey results, 82% of new Zealanders approved of daylight saving, with more than half of those survey indicating that they LOVE daylight saving, while 10% disapprove of it.

Individuals who thought daylight saving had an influence on their sleep and wellbeing reported that these benefits were good with 31%of respondents stating that the effects on them were all positive while only 5% claimed they experienced negative effects and 14% claimed the impacts were both positive and bad.

Members of the Tourism Industry Association and the Hospitality Association were also requested to complete the daylight saving survey about the impact of the extension of daylight saving time in 2008. Of those that responded, 73 percent thought the extension to daylight saving was helpful for their business.

Does ending daylight saving affect your sleep?

 

Even though we are going to gain an additional hour of sleep, that is, of course, assuming your body clock doesn’t wake you up an hour before your alarm goes off (don’t you hate it what that happens), the sudden shift in time can actually wreak havoc on you sleeping patters – leaving you to feel as though you’ve just come home from a 12-hour international flight, crying baby and all. Let’s call it – daylight saving jet lag!

This daylight saving jet lag you experience is your body’s way of telling you that your circadian rhythm is misaligned. In other words, when your own body clock doesn’t match the actual time, you will likely experience some sleep and wellbeing issues.

Your circadian rhythm is an internal body clock that affects your sleep-wake cycle and other energy changes in roughly 24-hour periods. Keeping a consistent sleep pattern that fits up with your circadian cycle makes it easier to receive the sleep your body requires.

The twice-yearly time changes connected with daylight saving time can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to obtain sufficient sleep, which can contribute to sleep debt.

Adjust to the end of daylight saving without acquiring sleep debt

 

It can take your body up to two weeks to completely adjust to this one-hour shift in time, so preparing in advance, or easing into the new schedule slowly can help improve your daylight saving jet lag. Here’s some tips that will help you get good night’s sleep as you transition through the shift in time.

  • Limit your caffeine: If you can, set a ‘cut-off’ time for your last coffee (or any other caffeinated drink). Lunch time is a good time to try. The change is cooler weather may prompt you to crave hot drinks, and you may be tempted to drink more coffee than usual.
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach: If possible, allow at least 2 hours after dinner before going to bed. This can be a bit harder to achieve with nights getting darker earlier. Find out about foods that can help you sleep here. Limit your alcohol: Try to have no more than 1-2 standard drinks a day. Although alcohol can have a sedative effect and helps you fall asleep, it often leads to mid-night waking and disrupted sleep. Many find the temptation for a cold beer at night is less due to the cooler nights in Autumn, take advantage of the change to reduce your nightly intake.
  • Follow a routine: Following a bedtime routine can help build a habit that singles to your brain and body you are about to go to bed. We get less and less sunlight as the days become shorter and we spend more time indoors. Because our vitamin D levels are dependent on the quantity of sunlight we receive, they deteriorate. Our bodies become sleepier during the day as a result of this. Sunlight also aids in the regulation of the release of the sleep hormone melatonin in our bodies. We’ll feel sleepier a lot earlier than normal in Autumn because it gets darker earlier.
  • Have a warm bath: Many people find that winding down in a warm bath or shower can help relax their mind and body before bed. Autumn is the season when animals begin to prepare for hibernation, so we should use it as an opportunity to slow down and commit to a nightly regimen of soothing pre-bed rituals. You may, for example, make it a practice to read a nice book every night, drink a cup of herbal tea, or soak in a warm scented bath.
  • Keep off your phone: The blue light emitted from your phone and other electronic devices can impair the body’s own natural nighttime sleep response.
  • Cooler nights ahead: As summer comes to an end, so do those hot humid nights that make it hard to fall asleep. The normal reaction of your body shortly before sleep is to lower its core temperature and keep it there until you wake up. This process is aided by the cooler air of autumn. It’s why, when it comes to bedtime, we typically urge individuals to keep their bedrooms cool rather than heated. If that’s still not helpful, it might be time to investigate Sleepyhead beds with Kulkote. Kulkote is our unique temperature regulating technology that draws the surface heat of your mattress away from your body – This technology is particularly useful for menopausal women. You can read more about Kulkote here.

Get a Better Night’s Sleep with Sleepyhead

 

This ending of daylight saving is a great change to improve your sleep habits, especially if you can take advantage of that coveted extra hour of sleep on Monday morning.

Sleepyhead has developed a wide range of advanced technologies to create excellent mattresses in New Zealand to ensure the most comfortable and supportive sleep possible. Why not take our Sleep Selector Quiz to find the best mattress for you, or check out our list of retailers to find a store close to you.

And make sure you: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more interesting and important sleep tips!

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