Thursday, November 3, 2016

Myddfai Reiki: How Does Daylight Savings Impact Your Health?

How Does Daylight Savings Impact Your Health?

For many, daylight savings means nothing more than setting your clocks back, and perhaps waking up in the dark for that pre-work yoga class. But it turns out daylight savings can impact much more than your gym schedule.
“Moving the clocks back an hour is an artificial change in our routine and can upset our circadian rhythm,” says Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, Co-Founder of Take Shape For Life.
Andersen explains that before we invented clocks, we relied on our pineal gland, a light-sensitive pea-sized organ that secretes melatonin to help us know when to fall asleep. The gradual shift in day-length from summer to winter gives the pineal gland time to adjust. An overnight changing of the clocks does not.
But what does it look like when our circadian rhythm is thrown off whack? According to Andersen, this annual adjustment can not only disrupt our sleep pattern, but also our moods, eating habits, levels of stress and the time we set aside to exercise (remember the aforementioned pre-light wakeup call).


Eating habits
For some, daylight savings can lead to overeating, as our bodies struggle to adapt to the change in our sleep cycle. And even if we’re not prone to overeating, when your brain is foggy, your ability to make healthy eating decisions may be impaired, and you may be craving a sugary pick-me-up—so that box of cookies will look extra enticing.

Weight maintenance
“Sleep is nature’s nurse,” says Andersen. Our pillow time impacts every factor of weight maintenance, from appetite regulation to inflammation management. When we interrupt our sleep, we interrupt all of these processes. What does this mean? According to Andersen, our likelihood of overeating can go up and our energy levels and interest in exercise can go down.

“Daylight savings coincides with shorter winter days, which can lead to an uptick in the number of people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” explains Andersen. And even though we gain an hour of sleep, Andersen says that the lack of sunlight can make us irritable and less motivated when we do rise.

Do you ever feel like the summer is stress-free while the winter has you hiding under the covers? The time change may be to blame for this phenomenon. “Though we gain an hour of sleep, only a handful of people actually get that promised extra hour of sleep,” Andersen explains. “Many actually wake up earlier than usual due to the body’s circadian clock. When our sleep schedules are interrupted, we are more likely to experience stress and can feel more anxious.”
So now we know the impact of setting back the clock. But what can we do to help our bodies adapt?
To modify routines and help our bodies adapt this fall, Andersen suggests keeping constant sleep and wake schedules (yep, even on the weekends), exercising during the day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and eating lightly at night.
“If you have habits of healthy sleep already—like a consistent relaxing evening routine and bedtime—you should strive to keep that routine intact before the time change,” says Andersen. “If not, I recommend modifying your bedtime accordingly before daylight savings.”

Wait – what about naps? Andersen says that a quick nap is fine, but anything over 20 minutes could make issues worse


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