Mornings will stay darker later and evenings will draw in sooner
It happens every year, but for many of us the clocks going back comes as a surprise.
The colder days and darker nights also means a change from British Summer Time (BST), sometimes called Daylight Saving Time, to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
So when do the clocks actually go back this year and why is it important to change your routine now?
When do the clocks go back?
This year, the clocks go back on quite a memorable date – Sunday 31 October, which is also Halloween.
The clocks go back by an hour at 2am, meaning we get an extra hour of sleep.
It also means the mornings stay darker later and the evenings will get darker sooner.
The longest night of the year – or the shortest day – will be due a few days before Christmas on December 21.
It’s called the winter solstice and occurs when the North Pole reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun.
Why do I need to change my routine?
A neuroscientist recommends adjusting your routine a few days before the clocks go back to avoid too much disruption to your sleep pattern.
Dr Lindsay Browning, a psychologist and sleep expert for And So To Bed, said that while gaining an hour’s sleep is an ‘advantage,’ it can actually cause problems with falling asleep and waking up at new times.
She said: “To help your body adjust quickly to the new time, it can be a good idea to gradually alter your bedtime two to three days before the clocks change so that you get used to falling asleep and waking up later.
“You can even move your breakfast, lunch and dinner a little later each day too, since the timing of mealtimes also has an impact on our internal clock.”
Dr Browning warned that not taking preventative action could lead to waking up too early and finding 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.
“To help combat this, and to help you get going in the morning, start the day by opening your curtains wide as soon as you wake up to let in the light.
“Also, make sure that you leave the house for a mid-morning/lunchtime walk to help you get some important sunlight exposure and a little light exercise.”
Dr Browning also recommends avoiding caffeine after 2pm and phones and laptops in the evening.
“Caffeine has a six hour half-life, meaning caffeine is still in your system many hours after your last drink.
“Lastly, practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding bright lights in the evening from your phone and laptop, as these can disrupt your natural production of melatonin.”
When will the clocks go forward again in 2022?
The clocks will go forward by an hour again in Spring of 2022 – which means losing an hour in bed.
In Spring, there will also be shorter nights and more light during the day, which is something to look forward to after a long cold autumn and winter.
The move forward will happen on Sunday, March 27 as the time moves back into BST.