Friday 27 March 2015 4:51 am

Clocks go forward this weekend – here are six ways to make sure you don’t feel tired when Daylight Saving Time begins

This weekend marks the official start of Daylight Savings Time (DST). On Sunday morning, clocks will go forward by one hour.

On the bright side, we'll have lighter evenings for the next six months – but even an hour is enough to throw your body slightly out of kilter.
An analysis of sleeping patterns by health company Withings estimates the majority of people will end up having 25 minutes less sleep this weekend as a result of the change. While that amount may sound negligible, the effects can last for a number of days afterwards. 
Our circadian clocks, which determine when we feel tired and when we feel awake, are robust – but They don't like being messed around with, and forcing them to change too abruptly can make us feel groggy and moody. 
It takes time for the body to become accustomed, so here are six pieces of advice to help you adjust gradually, without losing any sleep over it. 

Go to bed earlier, bit by bit

Don't try going to bed an hour earlier than you normally do on Saturday – if you're firmly set in the routine of hitting the pillow at 11, you'll just lay awake if you try going to bed at 10. In fact, you'll probably end up drifting off even later as a result.
Instead, spend a few days going to bed slightly earlier each time. 15 minutes a day is much more manageable, and is likely to have the desired effect. Just reducing the difference down from an hour to half an hour will cut the grogginess considerably.

Set your alarm earlier

The heart-sinking feeling we get when the alarm goes off first thing in the morning never gets easier, but it's possible to stop it getting worse – try getting into the habit of getting up earlier the day before before. That way, DST will come as less of a shock to your body. 

Switch off screens

Our circadian clock is based on lightness and darkness – the lighter the environment, the harder it is to go to sleep. By switching off all screens in your home for a couple of hours before you go to bed, you may find yourself falling asleep sooner. 

Run off the energy

The sleep benefits of strenuous exercise, especially a few hours before bed, have been proven many times. It helps drain excess energy and will help you sleep deeper, as well as earlier. 

Afternoon power naps

If DST passes and you're still finding it hard to get into the swing of things, 20 minute power naps in the afternoon can help temporarily raise energy levels, without making you so awake you can't sleep at night.

Avoid coffee

When we feel tired in the middle of the day, there are few things capable of waking us up as much as a cup of coffee. But having it too late in the day, after lunchtime for example, can do more harm than good – it makes our hearts beat faster and increases alertness for many hours, so the effects are often still felt when you get into bed at night.