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Daylight Savings Time - Prepare Your Body for When Setting Clocks Back

Daylight Savings Time - Prepare Your Body for When Setting Clocks Back

The end of daylight savings time this year takes place in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 6. This switch in daylight availability can make it difficult for some to adjust. Following is an explanation of how this seasonal change in clocks works in terms of your physiology as well as some supplements that could help you adapt to the change and help smooth out some of those wrinkles, as they say.

 

Difficulties When Daylight Savings Ends

When your whole schedule is forced to shift by one hour, it can cause disruptions to your sleep and disrupt your circadian rhythm. Setting clocks back by an hour can be an opportunity to make up for lost sleep, but this is usually not what happens for most people. This is because most people do not take advantage of the extra hour of a night’s sleep. Conversely, the schedule change can actually decrease the quality of sleep for some.

Another potential disruption for many will be the tendency to continue waking up naturally according to what their body has been used to for the previous 8 months. This means automatically waking up at, say, 5 a.m. instead of the alarm-set 6 a.m. Waking up early vs. oversleeping can work to your advantage, such as if you have an early-morning meeting or flight you can’t afford to miss, but the loss of sleep can wear on you over time. 

The change in schedule, combined with the shorter days that come with the season, can have certain health effects. The schedule change can cause some people to feel “out of step” and to experience depression as well. With less exposure to sunlight, the production of some hormones such as serotonin and melatonin decreases. Serotonin produces positive feelings of well-being, and melatonin is responsible for initiating sleep.

 

Supplements for the Seasonal Change

With the disruption in circadian rhythm, and the tendency for us to experience less sunlight, taking steps to actively correct these things can be worthwhile. Certain supplements can help regulate your circadian rhythm when adjusting to the new schedule. Others can help fill in for potential vitamin deficiencies.

Melatonin is an important hormone that is responsible for initiating sleepiness and sleep. Supplementing with melatonin has been shown to increase sleep quality. It is ideal for short-term use, especially for periods of adjusting your habits, such as after daylight savings time ends.

Vitamin D is a critical vitamin that our body produces as a result of being exposed to sunlight. Ensuring you get enough vitamin D is critical in the winter months. This is not just because we get less sun exposure, but because winter is a time when infections tend to spread more easily. The Endocrine Society recommends that adults get between 1,500 and 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Valerian is a flowering plant that has historically been used to treat insomnia. Taken at the recommended dose, valerian can have a significant benefit on sleep quality. This can be helpful for those having sleep difficulties when adjusting to the new schedule. 

Vitamin B12 does many things, and one of those is increasing the production of tryptophan in the body.Tryptophan plays a role in the production of melatonin, making B12 an all-around good supporter of sound sleep. All of the B vitamins can help reduce fatigue and provide other benefits as well, but B12 can be especially helpful during this transition period that accompanies the end of daylight savings.

 

In the course of transitioning to an earlier sunrise/sunset, and shorter days, the above supplements can be a healthy assist. To ensure you get enough sleep, and enough vitamin D, keep one or more of these supplements in your cabinet. Talk to your doctor about how these can be of help to you.

 

* Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. WonderLabs always recommends reviewing any nutritional supplement changes with your primary medical provider.

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