Daylight saving signals the approach of summer

This coming Sunday 27 September, our clocks will move forward one hour at 2am, meaning we will have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings.

For some, daylight saving signals the approach of long summer days, however, for others, it means the welcome sunny evenings are disturbed by restless nights and lost sleep.

So what can you do to keep your body clock on time? A research officer from Massey University's Sleep/Wake Reseach Centre, Dr Lora Wu, says even though the amount of sleep lost during daylight saving seems small, it can have a big impact. She adds that large studies overseas have shown in some countries, an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents following the time change.

"Daylight saving challenges your internal timekeeper, the circadian clock. Your circadian clock does not automatically shift with daylight savings, so it can take some time to recover,

"Springing forward is harder than falling back in time. It is easier to fall asleep and wake up later than it is to fall asleep and wake up earlier each day. It will likely be harder for night-owls to adjust, which means it can be tough on teenagers and young adults."

Here are some tips to help you before and after the clocks are changed:

- Try to get a lot of natural sunlight exposure when you first wake up in the morning.

- Avoid bright lights in the evening (including light from TVs, computers, and mobile devices).

- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

- Don't use alcohol as a sleep aid

- Give yourself extra time for travel. 

- Bring your bedtime and wake-up times forward by 20 minutes per day for the day before, during, and after daylight saving to give yourself time to adjust.