Every year I hear people say "ooh, we get an extra hour in bed" when the clocks go back. Every year, I find myself having to despute this.
Come on, who realistically does actually get an extra hour in bed? I know I didn't; in fact I end up having an extra hour awake because of it, and I have no doubt many of you do too.
What was that? You don't understand the crazy English lady coming out with such nonsense? Then let me explain.
Most of us are 'creatures-of-habit' (even those who say they aren't probably find they really are). We get up at the same time each morning, we got to bed around the same time every night. We have a 'routine'. If you work you need this routine to ensure you get enough sleep to see you through the following day for your job. If you don't work, you probably find you still stick to some kind of routine, or else you just end up 'drifting'.
So, your routine, if like mine, probably involves you getting up 6 days-a-week to try and earn some money. You'd think that one day a week you don't have to get up, you'd spend a bit longer in bed, but the truth of the matter is, you most likely don't. The reason for this is that your body has become used to the getting up at the same time for the previous 6 days; it just does what you've been programming it to do all week. After a while, this routine becomes a 'habit'. You probably find even when you're on holiday, you still wake up the same time!!
Then, someone says "hey, the clocks are going back; you can have an extra hour in bed". That someone needs silencing.
I go to bed between 11-12pm each night and my alarm is set for 7 the next morning - although I'm usually wide awake around the 6am point. That's what I am used to, so it stands-to-reason yesterday would be no different. I did send myself to bed later on Saturday, in the hope it might make a dent in the awakening routine (it never). I then found myself wide awake at 6.30am, or what would have been 6.30 had it been the day before. Yesterday, however, it was officially 5.30am. I then found myself with a dilemma. What time to go to bed last night.
As I was up an hour earlier, should I go to bed an hour earlier? That would make sense, but then what happens if I follow my usual routine, have just over 6.5 sleep? I'd find myself awake at 4.30, and it really would be 4.30 because the clocks weren't going to suddenly jump forward again this morning. No, the only choice was to go at 11, and start conditioning my body and brain back into a routine that fits around the lifestyle I have. However, that then meant instead of having this elusive extra hour in bed, I ended up being out of my bed for an hour longer than I would have normally been. On a general (normal) day I spend around 17 hours awake. Yesterday, when I was meant to be able to spend 1 less awake, I, in fact, spent 18 hours awake. Ok, so I gained an hour, but not a sleeping one.
Then, Monday (today) comes around, and my little brain is still totally confused from yesterday and finds itself wide awake at 3.30 this morning, wondering what the hell is going on.
No, I don't think we gain, or benefit, at all from the clocks going back. Time for them to just let things stay as they are, me thinks.
Still, at least it's the right time of year to be walking around, looking like a sleep depraved zombie :)