You may already not be looking forward to losing an hour's sleep on Saturday night, but have you stopped to think about the other effects of daylight saving time? If you take daily medication such as the contraceptive pill, you may be wondering if you need to slightly alter your schedule. So does the clocks going forward affect the pill?
On March 31 at precisely 1 a.m., the clocks will go forward an hour. Yes, you'll get an extra hour of sunlight, but you'll also be sleeping for an hour less. (Thankfully, it'll only affect your Sunday morning so you won't have to worry about being late for work.) You're probably going to be a little more tired than usual, so figuring out if you need to change the time you take your pill beforehand will leave you stress-free.
Luckily, you don't have to panic. Although it's important that you take the pill at roughly the same time every day, an hour really shouldn't make any difference. As Dr. Hedieh Asadi told Elite Daily: “The one hour time difference from daylight saving time will not have any effect.” Planned Parenthood also backed up this point, writing: "While it’s better to take your birth control pills at the same time every day, daylight savings doesn’t present a problem. (Otherwise we’d see a spike in unintended pregnancies at the same times every year!)"
If you normally take your pill at 10 a.m., do the same come Sunday. But if you're a super cautious person, you can ensure you take it at the exact same time by pushing back an hour. So in the previous example, you'd take it at 11 a.m.
Forgetting to take the pill for a considerable amount of time, however, could have an impact. Generally, a dose of the combined pill (Microgynon, Yasmin, Cilest etc.) is only classed as missed if it's been longer than 24 hours, states the NHS. This is because its artificial oestrogen and progesterone content prevents ovulation.
The progestogen-only pill — or mini pill — is drastically different. As the NHS explains, it simply thickens cervical mucus to stop sperm reaching an egg. With traditional mini pills including Micronor, Norgeston, and Noriday, you will still be protected against pregnancy if you are less than three hours late. A desogestrel mini pill like Cerazette or Cerelle can also stop ovulation, therefore increasing this window to 12 hours.
If you miss a pill, the NHS advises taking one as soon as you remember and using an additional form of contraception such as condoms for the next 48 hours. For those who are still unsure, a doctor or nurse will always be happy to answer any contraceptive questions (whether timing-related or not). Alternatively, visit a sexual health clinic or your local pharmacy.
So there you have it. All you have to worry about this weekend is being late to meet your mum for her Mother's Day breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Right, best get setting those multiple alarms.