The return to summer time involves moving the hands one hour forward: the days will be longer, just as the hours of light will increase. Some effect on mood may be present, as well as sleep disturbances. The issue of abolishing the time change has long been debated within the EU. Already in 2018 the cancellation was presented by Northern European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland. In central and southern Europe, on the other hand, moving the hands forward results in considerable energy savings.
Among the hypotheses put forward to satisfy all the countries of the continent, a subdivision into blocks was also feared, providing for a single time for the whole year, with summer time in the southern countries and standard time in the northern ones. To date, however, it is still nothing.
Time changes can have effects on both health and mood. There is increased irritability, anxiety, depression, but also sleep disturbances and migraines. These are transient states and disturbances that resolve after a few days of adjustment, and putting into practice some simple precautions at least two or three days before the transition.
When the time changes from standard to summer time
In the night between Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March 2023 summer time returns: the hands of the clocks will be moved forward one hour, from 2 to 3 (although it is possible to set all the clocks the following morning, without having to get up in the middle of the night). Remember to synchronize all devices with daylight saving time: wall clocks, wrist watches, alarm clocks, timers, car clocks. Smartphones, computers and digital devices, on the other hand, will synchronize automatically on the time change.
Daylight saving time: effects on sleep
Sleep disturbances may occur in the two-three days following the entry into force of summer time. Moving the hands forward means that you sleep an hour less. The sleep debt, after the transition period both for the transition from standard time to summer time and vice versa, is often highlighted as problematic.
The impact of daylight saving time on the body is closely related to circadian rhythm, the biological clock that has the task of regulating various functions of the body. There melatonin involved and which promotes sleep, moreover, it is synthesized when it is dark. With the transition to summer time, the sun rises later, the evening is consequently longer and the light lasts longer, triggering a “delay” effect on the body, which perceives the rest-wake time in a different way. A sort of jet lag without leaving home. We tend to go to sleep later and wake up later. Less affected are those who tend to wake up very early. Depending on your sleep habits, and the number of hours you sleep, it will be more or less difficult to get used to the change, from one day to two weeks.
Effects of summer time on health
It’s not just sleep that “suffers” from the change of solar time to daylight saving time. There may be other signs, such as:
The most common, however, are:
- Loss of concentration: fewer hours of rest translate into difficulties in concentrating to carry out normal daily activities.
- Tiredness and exhaustion: When the days get longer because the sun sets later, we also tend to be hyperactive and productive. However, the load of activities and the arrival of spring (and summer time) could also lead to a drop in energy.
Time change: how to behave?
In order not to suffer the repercussions of the transition from winter to summer time, it is good to plan ahead by putting into practice some simple habits, such as:
- anticipate the time you go to sleep and set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual to help the body get used to the new dark/light rhythm;
- make the most of every moment of the sun to top up on vitamin D. As explained above, vitamin D levels are related to mood, so the ideal would be to make the most of the moments of the day when there is sun to get in contact with sunlight and thus promote its absorption.
- review the power supply preferring light meals in the evening that facilitate digestion and promote rest,
- avoid the consumption of caffeine and theine, as excess and consumption during the evening hours can affect the sleep-wake cycle;
- in case of headache resort to magnesium supplements
- fare physical activity in the morning or in any case not after dinner even if the light conductions are more favorable: exercising is essential for the precious release of endorphins, but it is not ideal to do it shortly before going to sleep as it increases the possibility of insomnia and non-refreshing sleep.