Changing Times

October 2017 Issue 3

The clocks move back one hour on Saturday night 28 October – marking darker evenings and for a few short weeks lighter mornings.

Although this provides an opportunity for an extra hours sleep it does change sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. This in turn impacts on the release of hormones that affect moods, hunger, alertness, sleep and cluster headaches.

The extent of the impact depends on an individuals health, sleep pattern and lifestyle. There can be significant individual variation in adapting to the change in clocks moving back an hour. Some may experience a decline in performance, concentration, memory, sleepiness and fatigue.

As shorter days progress the general reaction is rather negative – less daylight and sunlight and colder days. The lack of sunlight means vitamin D becomes depleted which can lead to fatigue. In some cases this can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lowering mood and in extreme cases major melancholy. US estimates suggest 20% of people can be affected by SAD in the months with shorter days. Massage therapy can help those with SAD in reducing depression, increasing relaxation, boosting mood and improving immune function.

Tips for self help

The following actions can help in adaptation and also beat the winter blues:

  1. reducing the intake of caffeine and alcohol

  2. exercising several hours before going to bed

  3. indulge in calming events before bed such as a hot bath

  4. light carbohydrates may make it easier to fall asleep

  5. some may benefit from ear plugs and eye masks

  6. rise earlier to benefit from the morning light

  7. eat vitamin D rich foods (eg fish, egg yokes and beef liver) or consider vitamin D supplements

  8. obtain and use a SAD lamp

  9. have massage when the clocks change and regular massage thereafter

Get a relaxing massage and adapt to the clock change faster and stave off the impact of shorter days. Book on 07504 554936

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