Welcome, British Summer Time! This weekend (Sunday 27th March) marks the arrival of Daylight Savings Time (DST). Like most people, we adore the longer, brighter days and those mood-lifting summer vibes. But how can losing just one hour of sleep during DST leave us feeling so fatigued?
It’s totally normal to feel a little ‘jet-lagged’ during Daylight Savings. Twice a year, you might feel like you have just travelled to a different time zone, without setting foot onto an aeroplane. Our bodies work to a schedule, and the slightest change can affect our ability to optimally function.
In this article, we’ll explore why moving the clocks forward can leave us feeling drained and what we can do to minimise disruption to our circadian rhythm.
What Happens to the Body During Daylight Saving Time?
DST doesn’t just shift the clocks on your digital devices. It throws off your sleep cycle too. Whether an early bird or night owl, our brains and bodies use important cues to regulate sleep, such as sunlight, our behaviour and even our diet. To your body, DST is quite an impactful shift that can significantly affect your ability to obtain quality, restful sleep. To understand how this happens, we must first look at what the circadian rhythm is and how it works.
What is Circadian Rhythm?
The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural internal clock. Yes, we all have one. Do you sometimes find yourself waking up a minute or so before your alarm clock is due to go off? That’s your circadian rhythm at work – your body knows when it should be emerging from a restful slumber.
The circadian rhythm plays an important role across your entire body. Changes to light in your external environment are interpreted by the brain, which responds by making you feel tired or alert accordingly. (This is why scrolling on your phone before bedtime isn’t a great idea if you want a decent night’s sleep.) When the clock shifts forward, we have darker mornings and more sunlight in the evenings, which results in a delayed sleep-wake cycle.
Your circadian rhythm is also sensitive to food intake, temperature and other external clues, e.g. a warm milky drink before bedtime, relaxing music, the scent of lavender essential oil on your pillow. There are many factors at play and ultimately, your circadian rhythm is very sensitive – hence, an hour’s shift on the clock, whether forwards or backwards, can throw it into confusion.
Some studies show that shifts in time such as DST and travelling to different time zones can affect your sleep for longer than five days. This can result in sleep deprivation, since it may take longer to fall asleep, you may wake up during the night and struggle to wake and feel alert the next morning. Sleep deprivation can have several undesirable effects, such as memory and concentration issues, increased hunger, cravings for carbs and sugary food, and general grogginess that can linger throughout the day.
DST occurs twice a year and is unavoidable. Thankfully, however, there are steps we can take to make the transition easier and maintain a peaceful, deep slumber for optimal wellness.
How CBD Can Help Your Sleep
CBD (cannabidiol) is an active compound of the hemp plant. It can help you relax, ease symptoms of anxiety and obtain more restful sleep. CBD oil is a great substance to use year-round to promote a healthy mind and body, but it can prove even more useful when your body needs support adjusting to a new sleep-wake cycle. And no, you won’t get high by using CBD – which is completely legal in the UK.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid that can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a complex biological system that regulates a number of our vital functions including appetite, mood and – yes, you guessed it – our circadian rhythm. When consumed, CBD influences the endocannabinoid system by interacting with cannabinoid receptors and providing a healthful boost in the regulation of our physiological functions. In summary, CBD works with the nervous system to help your feel significantly more relaxed, which in turn, helps you to fall asleep more quickly and achieve a better night’s sleep, leaving you feeling alert and refreshed the following day. CBD is also fast-acting.
How to Use CBD in your DST Routine
If you’d like to try CBD to support your endocannabinoid system during Daylight Savings, we recommend starting now, ahead of the weekend’s shift in circadian rhythm. Try a few drops of CBD oil, such as Night + CBD Oil, before bedtime to feel relaxed and restored.
CBD is a natural way to promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle but it’s important to remember that it should only supplement positive sleep hygiene habits, rather than replace them. These habits, which should already be part of your daily routine, include:
- Limiting caffeine intake, especially after midday
- Avoiding screens a couple of hours before bedtime
- Prepping your bedroom so that is cool, dark and peaceful at bedtime
- Avoiding heavy meals before bed
- Getting outside during sunlight hours – exercise will also help in achieving a better night’s sleep
In the days leading up to Daylight Savings Time, use CBD about an hour before bedtime. Always start with a low dose and build up slowly if needed. If taking medication, consult your GP before taking any CBD products.
Daylight Savings occurs twice a year and whether the clocks go forward or backwards, the adjustment can leave you feeling groggy, to say the least. This is natural, as your sensitive circadian rhythm needs time to adjust. But hectic lifestyles aren’t put on hold for DST unfortunately, and feeling jet-lagged for up to five days post-DST is less than ideal. That’s where CBD – a natural substance that benefits sleep and wellness – can help. When DST lands, have your CBD to hand ready to help you fall into a deep slumber and emerge from sleep feeling rested and restored.