Hand turning off alarm clock; daylight savings; weight loss.

By Rachel, RD

It’s that time of the year again, where we set our clocks back an hour! This year, Daylight Savings Time (DST) lands on Sunday, November 1st, 2020 at 2 AM. Even though this allows us to have more sunshine on our morning drive to work, it can also change the sleep patterns our bodies are accustomed to.

Does Daylight Savings Time Affect Sleeping Patterns?

According to research, changing our sleep patterns can disturb our circadian and sleep rhythms five-to-seven days following the Daylight Savings change1. That’s right! It can take a full week to get back to that great night’s sleep you’re craving.

Below are our favorite tips to help your body acclimate more quickly to Daylight Savings Time.

  1. Let the sun come into your bedroom in the morning. When it’s too dark in our room, the body produces more of a melatonin hormone, which makes it sleepier. When our space is brighter with natural sunlight, it causes less melatonin to be created and naturally wakes us up3.
  2. Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time you usually do. We “fall back” an hour in fall, so you’ll gain an hour of sleep. However, keeping your same schedule may help your body feel “back on track” and not feel jet-lagged.
  3. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep the night before the Daylight Savings Time change. Getting seven-to-nine hours of sleep each night is essential to help your body restore for the next day. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can boost your immune system, as well! Did you know that when your body sleeps, it produces cytokines, which help with immune function4?
  4. Try not to use electronics or watch television at least 30 minutes before going to bed5.
  5. Avoid exercising 90 minutes before going to bed2.

Can Getting Enough Sleep This Weekend Help with Weight Loss?

Do you ever notice that you feel hungrier after a sleepless night? That’s not your stomach playing tricks on you; when you don’t get the recommended seven-to-nine hours of sleep, your body can over-produce the “hunger” hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

When your body is looking to fill that hunger craving, it can increase your desire for high-calorie foods, such as fast food, snacks, and desserts that don’t serve your weight loss goals.

Another side-effect of sleep deprivation is a lack of motivation to exercise, which is a great tool to promote overall wellness.

Research shows that sleeping less than seven hours a night can heighten your risk of weight gain and obesity compared to those who get more than seven hours of sleep2.

Think to yourself:

  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • Do I get more than seven hours of sleep a night?

If the answer is no, this is the weekend to get a jump start on your sleep schedule and get back on track with your weight loss or wellness goals! Set your sleep schedule now to ensure your continued health all year long!


Resources

  1. https://j2vjt3dnbra3ps7ll1clb4q2-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/daylight-saving-time-sleep-health-advisory.pdf
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-and-weight-gain/faq-20058198
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935707/
  4. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity
  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed