Dealing with the clocks going back


Last Sunday, we moved the clocks back one hour to end daylight saving time. This change can create significant discomfort for many people. It is likely that this week you will feel less enthusiastic about doing activities, and feel the need to take it easy at home. This situation can be improved by sticking to your routine and everyday habits.

Here are seven recommendations to help you adapt to the clocks going back

  1. Maintain your everyday routine as much as possible
  2. Enjoy natural light and get out in the sun
  3. Do outdoor activities and stay active
  4. Do quiet and relaxing activities before going to bed
  5. Avoid using mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc.) in bed with the light off
  6. Spend time with family and friends
  7. Eat light meals with seasonal food 

Poorer concentration and more tiredness

Diego Redolar, a member of the UOC’s Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and expert in the field, said that “it is neither depression nor apathy,” no matter how often we hear those words when defining how people feel.

“It may be more difficult to get to sleep in the first few days; we may find it more difficult to concentrate and we may feel more tired when we get up.” Redolar explained that these are the most common symptoms for most people. In fact, “the clocks going back does not have major implications at a biological level for adults, but it does have a greater impact on older people and children, as they are much more sensitive.”

An hour’s difference, a day to adapt

Studies show that 24 hours of biological adaptation are needed when the clocks are changed by one hour, as that is the human brain’s capacity to adapt. Nevertheless, “it’s a very good idea to stick to your usual routines to adapt better to the clocks going back,” advises Redolar. And he points out: “in fact, we should reinforce them at this time of year, and not change the times we set our alarm clocks, or have meals and showers.”

All these routines are signals that help the human brain adapt, as does light. The sun helps regulate biological and circadian rhythms, such as the sleep-wake cycle, as the brain receives information from light, secretes hormones, and regulates our metabolism based on the time of day. In fact, light is the primary stimulus our brain receives to wake us up.

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