Did you feel hungry Sunday evening? My daughter claimed she was ‘starving’ before bedtime, alarm clocks were snoozed a couple of times in our house and many more people most probably felt like binging on Monday before lunch. This may be due to the Daylight Saving Time Change, but do the clocks going back have an effect on physical health?
It may seem quite extreme but yes, it could have an impact on mood, motor skills, appetite, and for some if there health isn’t great, upset there symptoms even more. The body will have to make slight adjustments because a lot of our hormones stimulating; sleep, hunger, energy levels, even immune responses - are driven by our natural circadian rhythms – our sleep and waking cycle. When we have this small time shift it does take some time for our body rhythms to adjust, it should only take a day or two to start feeling back to normal. Lots of research has been done on the effects on health on the first few days following the time change. In a study taken just before and after daylight saving time in America over a 10-year period, the results showed a 6% increase in car accidents immediately after people reset their clocks in the spring, which amounted to more than 300 deaths.
Any amount of sleep deprivation can affect hormone levels in the body, which can lead to changes in appetite, an increase in cravings, and potential overeating. Sleep deficiency increases the release of the hormone ghrelin, which makes us hungry, and decreases the release of the hormone leptin, which makes us feel satisfied when we eat.
How can you support yourself through time change?
- Exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning, will help your brain adjust to the earlier waking time. Open your curtains or get outside for a morning brisk walk!
- Try to avoid caffeine after 2pm to help your natural circadian rhythm, avoiding feeling too much awake in the evening.
- Don’t have a nap in the afternoon, rather get into bed a bit earlier – which might be better for you in the long run too!
- Adding some cinnamon to your food and eating complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice, or whole-wheat with meals will help curb your hunger, whilst getting your body balanced. These are some lovely options Berry Breakfast Porridge or Strawberry Milk Shake.
- Take time to wind down before bed, consider a warm bath or shower, a cup of herbal tea and a relaxing book putting away all electronic devices.
You should feel better within a couple of days, but if you find that not to be the case you most probably need some extra support. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.