Platinum Chiropractic

Daylight Savings and Your Health

Did you know that humans and other mammals have natural 24-hour cycles, known as circadian rhythms, that help regulate our sleep, appetite, and mood? We do!

Light exposure heavily influences these rhythms, which means today’s daylight savings time change impacts them. It’s incredible how much our bodies are affected by these rhythms!

Today at 2 a.m., we sprung forward and lost one hour of our day, which means we “lost” one hour of sleep last night. This change has some pros and cons. Some pros include more light during the evening, better visibility for driving, and more daylight hours for outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and going to the park. The increase in daylight hours also allows more time to soak up the nutrients we get from the sun’s rays, including an increase in Vitamin D synthesis.

Can Daylight Savings Impact Your Health?On the con side, this time change correlates to increases in heart problems, mood disorders, and motor vehicle collisions. Although many people eventually get used to the changes brought on by daylight saving time, some scientific studies suggest that the human body can never fully adjust to the time shift. As a result, individuals may experience a chronic or permanent imbalance in their circadian rhythm, which can lead to more severe health issues. But if we take action to establish good circadian rhythms, we can reduce these concerns and focus more on the benefits. Check out some tips below:

Practice Healthy Sleep Hygiene: Work to establish a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. The goal is to get at least eight hours of sleep per night, paying particular attention to the weeks immediately following the time change. (to learn more, check out our blog article on sleep)

Nap in Moderation: People who experience sleep deprivation may find some relief by taking short naps during the day. To prevent groggy mental clarity, these naps should never exceed 20 minutes. This week, consider afternoon naps for extra support as we transition.

Spend Time Outdoors: Natural light is a driving force behind our circadian rhythms.

  • Starting the day with some exposure to sunlight helps our body know it is time to wake up and signal the proper hormones for increased cognitive activity and proper digestion.
  • Exposure to sunlight increases the production of Vitamin D in your body. This Vitamin D is imperative to regulating circadian rhythm, immune support, and overall wellness.
  • Spending time outside during the day also suppresses the production of melatonin. This hormone should be released in the evening to help you feel tired and ready for bed. 
  • In the evening, watching the sunset helps signal your body that it is time to produce melatonin and prepare for bed.

Schedule a Chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments improve joint mobility and ensure the nervous system has no obstructions. This helps regulate your nervous system between the Sympathetic nervous system (Protection / Fight-or-Flight Stress physiology) and the Parasympathetic nervous system (Growth/rest, relaxation, digestion & healing physiology). When your body can regulate itself better, it can drastically improve circadian rhythms and reduce internal stress.

  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). (2014, March 3). Saving daylight, losing sleep: Insomnia Awareness Day is March 10. American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers.
  2. Barnes, C. M., & Wagner, D. T. (2009). Changing to daylight saving time cuts into sleep and increases workplace injuries. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(5), 1305–1317.
  3. Sources: Monk, T.H., Aplin, A.C. (1980). Spring and autumn daylight saving time changes: studies of adjustment in sleep timings, mood, and efficiency. Ergonomics, 23(2), 167-78.
Daylight Savings and Your Health

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