How Daylight Saving Time & Time Changes Affect You

How Daylight Saving Time & Time Changes Affect You

March 8, 2020, marked the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. While you may be looking forward to longer days and warmer weather, losing an hour of sleep is no fun. If you wake up the next morning feeling sluggish and generally “off,” you are not alone.

Whether you are “springing forward,” “falling back,” or traveling to a different time zone, the effects of a disrupted sleep pattern go far beyond simply feeling extra tired.

Understanding Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. 

It is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle and is tied into every other system in the body. While there are other cues for your circadian rhythm, the presence or absence of light, as well as the amount of light, triggers certain hormones that govern your body’s physical, mental, and emotional behaviors.

Sleep Deprivation

The most obvious and immediate effect of a time change is a disruption to your sleep cycle. 

Let’s say you normally wake up for work at 6 a.m., and leave at 7. When you “spring forward,” your clock may say that it is 6 a.m., but your body thinks it is 5. That means that you are performing the complicated task of driving when your body is normally just waking up. 

Studies show there is a 6% increase in car accidents in the week following Daylight Saving Time. This is because the loss of sleep causes jet-lag symptoms, making for thousands of drowsy drivers on the road at the same time – a true recipe for disaster.

You can prepare for the hour loss by going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier in the week or two leading up to Daylight Saving or any other predicted time change. This makes it easier for your body to adjust when the time change occurs.

Exposing yourself to the daylight first thing in the morning will also cue your body that it is time to be awake and alert.

Digestive Dysfunction

While your internal clock is mostly influenced by light and temperature, your intestinal circadian rhythm is influenced by when and what you are eating. 

When sleep times change, meal times shift along with it, throwing off your natural rhythm. Lack of sleep also has many reaching for quick, sugary comfort foods on their way out the door (hello, Monday morning donut!), rather than a more balanced breakfast. 

The combination of change in meal time plus poor diet can wreak havoc on your gut, increasing vulnerability to reflux, ulcers, IBS, and even gastrointestinal cancers.

Just like with bedtime, in the weeks before a time change, shift your meal times by just a few minutes. You can also prepare for the decreased motivation from disrupted sleep patterns by prepping some well-rounded meals to grab and go while your body adjusts.

Feeling Moody

If you find yourself agitated or depressed in the days following time change, you are not alone. 

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed goes hand in hand with inadequate sleep. Pair that with immediately having to face a work or school day with no recovery time, and that moodiness lingers a bit longer than usual.

Take a deep breath and remember this is temporary. Try to get some fresh air and exercise to get those feel-good hormones going! Going for a quick run or walk in the morning exposes your body to light and raises your body temperature, signaling that it is time to wake up.

Spinal Adjustments & More in Frederick, MD

Studies have shown that regular chiropractic adjustments can result in better sleep, digestion, moods, and overall health. 

At Lipinski Chiropractic, we believe in the importance of spinal alignment for optimal function. Whether you’re looking to resolve specific pain or body system dysfunctions, or simply want to improve your overall health, we can create a custom care plan specific to YOU! Call today to schedule your appointment!