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"Is Your Body Ready for the Changes BST Will Bring on the 31st of March?"


The effects of BST on our body

Whether to keep or eliminate changing to BST has been a debated issue for years, with staunch supporters and equally strong detractors, each with their own reasons. The original intention was to extend daylight hours during the summer for energy savings.

However, current research shows that there is no actual energy savings because increasing daylight hours results in a simultaneous increase in the use of air conditioning. A study by economist Matthew Kotchen from Yale University notes that when daylight saving time begins in spring, people wake up during the colder and darker hours of the day, leading them to increase heating to stay warm. Additionally, more air conditioning is used during the long evening hours, resulting in an overall higher energy consumption.

Similarly, a meta-analysis in 2018 found that, on average, daylight saving time only reduced electricity consumption by 0.34%.


Apart from not providing significant energy savings, the semi-annual clock changes also have a detrimental impact on physical health, such as an increase in heart attacks in the days following the springtime clock change, which seems to be related to sleep loss and disruptions in circadian rhythm. A study from the University of Alabama found a 10% increase in heart attacks on the Monday and Tuesday following the daylight saving time change in spring, and a 10% decrease on the first Monday and Tuesday after the clock change. A recent study highlighted a 5.7% increase in workplace accidents and injuries, with 67.6% more workdays lost due to injuries following the switch to daylight saving time. A 1996 study found an 8% increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the switch to daylight saving time. Suicide rates among men also increase in the weeks following daylight saving time. Till Roenneberg, a Russian chronobiologist, claimed that most people show drastically reduced productivity, a decrease in quality of life, an increase in illnesses, and greater fatigue in the week following daylight saving time in spring.

A University of Washington study found that even judges issuing sentences on the Monday following daylight saving time in spring impose longer sentences on guilty individuals. A 2015 study found that daylight saving time negatively influenced the sleep patterns of high school students and their ability to stay alert in school. A 2019 article links daylight saving time to an increase in cluster headaches, depression, and lower success rates among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation. To mitigate the negative effects of daylight saving time, in addition to the strong recommendation to regularly sleep eight hours, there are some other things that can be done to alleviate the effects of the time change. 

What can we do to counteract some of these unpleasant side effects? Some tips from the Fit2Go West Bridgford Wellness Team

In anticipation of the time change, gradually start going to bed earlier, say 30 minutes earlier than usual on Saturday and another 30 minutes earlier on Sunday. This will help maximise exposure to daylight in the early morning rather than late evening. It's important to engage in physical activity in the morning during the weekend, have dinner earlier, and pay attention to the diet, ensuring consumption of plenty of fresh and whole foods, preferably organic, keeping sugar intake low, especially fructose. Sleep in complete darkness, check for the presence of electromagnetic fields in the bedroom, and keep the bedroom temperature sufficiently cool for optimal sleep.

In addition to lifestyle adjustments, physiotherapy can play a significant role in helping individuals cope with the physical challenges associated with the transition to daylight saving time. While specific studies on the direct impact of physiotherapy in this context may be limited, general principles of physiotherapy and its benefits for sleep, stress, and overall well-being can be applied.

Physiotherapy interventions, such as targeted exercises and stretches, can help alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation, contributing to better sleep quality. Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises, often incorporated in physiotherapy practices, can aid in managing stress and anxiety, common issues during the adjustment period. Our Holistic experts can provide valuable support, check them out:

Moreover, physiotherapists may provide education on posture and ergonomics, addressing potential discomfort or pain that can disrupt sleep. By addressing musculoskeletal issues and promoting proper body alignment, physiotherapy can contribute to improved overall physical comfort, making it easier for individuals to adapt to the changes in daylight saving time.

While the specific research on the role of physiotherapy in daylight saving time adaptation may be limited, the broader evidence supporting physiotherapy's positive effects on sleep, stress management, and musculoskeletal health provides a foundation for considering it as a complementary approach to cope with the challenges associated with time changes.

It's important to note that consulting with a physiotherapist or healthcare professional is recommended for personalised advice and tailored interventions based on individual needs and circumstances.


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