Feeling more tired since the clocks went back is due to your melatonin levels
As we head towards the end of another year and into the winter season, daylight saving time has come to an end, which means the clocks have gone back by an hour.
Every year, the clocks go back at 2am on the last Sunday in October. It happened on Sunday, October 30, this year.
The clocks going back meant that we got an extra hour of sleep last weekend. We might think this will leave us feeling more refreshed, but actually you may have noticed you're more tired than usual since the clocks changed.
Sleep expert and CEO of MattressNextDay Martin Seeley explains why this might be happening to us.
Sleep expert Martin explains that our body's internal clock is set by sunlight, which tells us when we should sleep and wake up.
However, when the day is shorter it can become harder for us to get up in the morning and go to bed at night, as our bodies are affected by changes in light and temperature.
He explains: "When daylight hours are shorter and temperatures are lower, our bodies produce more melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
"Melatonin levels rise during darkness and drop during light, so when we go from summer to autumn, there is less light and more melatonin in our bodies. In other words, we start feeling sleepy earlier at night and wake up later in the morning, and we tend to also sleep longer."
He added that many studies have shown people may also have trouble staying awake during the day when the clocks go back.
The impact of daylight hours on our body varies from person to person, depending on factors like age and health conditions such as depression or sleep disorders like insomnia or apnea or conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
When we don't get enough sleep, it can affect our short-term memory, concentration and mood, as well as our long-term health.
The most common symptom associated with lack of sleep is feeling tired during the day. Other signs of sleeplessness are:
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Difficulty remembering the previous day's events or conversations
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times such as when driving or eating dinner
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Feeling restless during sleep or waking up frequently during the night.
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