Here’s everything you need to know about how daylight-savings time affects your body’s natural Circadian Rhythm.
As we approach the end of daylight savings and prepare to wind our clocks an hour back, many of us will be looking forward to gaining an extra hour of sleep. Have you ever wondered what daylight-savings time is doing to your Circadian Rhythm, and the impact it has on your health? We’ve done the research for you, so here’s everything you need to know!
Circadian Rhythm and your health
First things first, Circadian Rhythm is our internal body clock, which uses lightness and darkness to tell us when to sleep, wake, eat, and is responsible for many more functions of the body. Working in sync with our Circadian Rhythm is beneficial for our health. Studies have shown when there is a dysregulation in our Circadian Rhythm, it disrupts our body’s physiological processes and can increase our risk of chronic diseases. Your body burns more kilojoules earlier in the day, so being in sync with your natural Circadian Rhythm also helps regulate your metabolism and supports your body’s ability to burn kilojoules more effectively.
How does daylight savings time effect our Circadian Rhythm?
Well the good news is the end of daylight savings actually won’t affect you too much! Turning our clocks an hour back at the end of daylight savings time is referred to as ‘fall back.’ For many of us, winding our clocks back is an easier time adjustment and often the change we look forward to, rather than adjusting to a loss of sleep at the start of daylight savings. Studies support this, showing that gaining an extra hour is much easier for our Circadian Rhythm to adapt to, therefore being much less disruptive – it often only takes one night for our internal body clock to readjust. So, take the opportunity to use this extra hour to catch up on sleep, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and energised, which is not only great for our physical health, but also mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
While the evenings will start to get darker earlier and you may not want to exercise outdoors in darkness, now is a good time to consider swapping your physical activity to the morning. There’s nothing better than going for a morning workout or walk to help you feel awake and feel energised for the day ahead. In fact since our Circadian Rhythm is driven by natural light, exercising in the morning sunlight helps to suppress the production of melatonin in our bodies, the hormone which makes us feel tired and ready for sleep. Falling back is often the least disruptive time of daylight savings, so the good news is there’s not much you need to do to prepare for it, just enjoy the extra hour however you wish to spend it.