Mess with My Clock, Mess with My Mood


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  53 comments   :  20,299 Views

Wrist watch…reset.  Alarm clock…check.  Oven and microwave…done and done.  This Saturday, just prior to going to bed, you will find me buzzing around my home and bumping up each clock by one hour to spring forward into Daylight Saving Time.
YUCK!  I really hate this time of year when I lose one hour of sleep.  It seems so harmless--one little hour, just 60 minutes.  Then why the heck does it take about 2 weeks for my body to eventually adjust?  I am one of those people with a very strong, internal alarm clock.  Messing with the timing of my machine really hampers my performance for days.  I find myself to be more irritable and cranky, drowsy, moody, unproductive and my creativity comes to a screeching halt.  Call me crazy…but I also find that I am hungrier for days following this sudden switch in time. 
While my body clock may be messed up, data from the National Sleep Foundation suggests that my problems are minimal.  In fact, during the 3-days following the time change in March, there is an increase in the number of heart attacks, traffic accidents, workplace accidents, and suicides. Not only does the time change increase sleep deprivation (in a society already sleep deprived), but it can also disrupt chronobiologic rhythms as well as influence the duration and quality of sleep which can last for many days after the initial shift in time. DANG! Be careful out there, folks!
And what about hunger, you ask?  Well, partial sleep deprivation can impact the daytime hormone profiles of leptin and ghrelin, thus affecting hunger and food cravings.  Research has shown that with sleep deprivation, leptin levels decrease up to 18%, while ghrelin levels increase by up to 28%.  The result is a 23% increase in one’s hunger level! Additionally, one’s desire for high carbohydrate foods (think cookies, cakes, and pastries) increases by more than 30%. WOW! No wonder I crave those chocolate chip cookies when the clock moves forward. 
So, if you are like me, you may benefit from this Daylight Saving Time Disaster Plan.  Here goes:
  • Adjust Slowly:  Go to bed 20 minutes earlier this evening (Thursday) and awaken 20 minutes earlier on Friday morning.  Continue to increase these amounts by 20 minutes.  Therefore, on Saturday morning, you will wake up 40 minutes earlier, and on Sunday morning you will already be at the one-hour earlier time setting.  Since you will have also gone to bed earlier each night, your internal time clock will gradually be reset.
  • Walk It Off:  A brisk walk can increase energy, lessen stress and rejuvenate the brain.  So take a little extra 15-20 minute walk during this adjustment phase.
  • Exercise Outside: The above mentioned walk is best done outside in bright sunshine if available.  This bright light helps with the shift in your body’s clock.
  • Face the Hunger Head-On:  There is a good chance that you may notice an increase in hunger—especially for sweets.  So set yourself up for success.  Make sure you are eating at the upper end of your protein range and getting at least 25 grams of fiber throughout the day to increase your feelings of fullness. Make sure you are including 3 meals and up to 3 snacks daily.  Keep a variety of low-calorie snack options on hand---fruits, veggies, diet gelatin and puddings, low-calorie hot chocolate, tea, diet drinks, caramel rice cakes, and broth-based soups.  Knowing why your hunger is increasing and having a plan to counteract it can help during the first several days of Daylight Saving Time.
  • Limit Additional Caffeine and Alcohol:  Stick to your typical daily caffeine intake and don’t rely on additional amounts just to mask how you are feeling.  Your body needs to adjust to the clock change rather than being over-stimulated on caffeine. Alcohol can interrupt sleep, so try to go easy on that as well.
  • Get Your Melatonin:  Supplementing with melatonin has been shown to be somewhat beneficial with adjusting sleep-wake cycles and jet lag.   The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has more on the usage of this supplement.  Check with your doctor prior to usage. 
  • See Your Doctor:  If you are experiencing symptoms related to heart attack, depression or suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor immediately.
How does your body respond to Daylight Saving Time?  What techniques do you use to help with the adjustment phase?

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  • 53
    In the past, I really didn't notice much difference. However, my lifestyle has changed, and I have noted more effects. I have a sleeping disorder anyway, but lately my mood has been absolutely horrific. As I learn more about this topic, I can see what is going on. - 3/13/2012   8:48:25 PM
  • 52
    DST is the beginning of my best months. I wake up faster, more energetic, I tend to eat less and crave less. Maybe Im the odd ball out. - 3/13/2012   7:03:52 AM
  • 51
    I have never thought that the clock changing would cause mood problems and therefore over eating problems. thanks for making me aware of this. Chris - 3/13/2012   5:23:55 AM
  • 50
    Don't know why, but I've always loved the Spring change. I actually wake up earlier and am more alert and anxious to get the day started. I've NEVER been a morning person so whatever causes me to embrace mornings--I like it! - 3/12/2012   12:45:12 PM
  • 49
    I don't think I've ever been bothered by DST. That first day, I may be a little more sleepy than usual...and, thus, a little more cranky, but other than that, I think I enjoy it. I enjoy more daylight hours in the early morning. I'll admit that sometimes it's a little difficult to get ready for bed when it's still light outside at 9 PM! - 3/12/2012   8:38:50 AM
  • 48
    Hate losing the hour's sleep, but LOVE the fact that it's light out later! - 3/11/2012   11:57:56 AM
  • 47
    Yes, the one hour really messes with my body. I used to work nights and flipped all the time but it is amazing how the one hour messes me up! - 3/9/2012   9:16:34 PM
  • 46
    Hate this change!!! I automatically arise at 6:30 to 6:45 and detest that becoming 7:45 AM. I love early morning and this time change robs me of that.
    If you ever taught school, you would also dislike it as kids tend to stay up one hour later, have to be wakened in AM and show their tiredness in school.
    Our Basic Skills Tests always seemed to be the week after time change and it just wasn't fair. Also, many kids stand out waiting for buses in the pitch dark in the morning. Let's leave the time alone. Or I liked someone's idea of a 1/2 hr. split. - 3/9/2012   9:06:18 PM
  • 45
    DST just makes me HAPPY, even if there's a little pain and suffering in the adjustment process when the clocks change. I DO sympathize with everyone who finds the change process hard.

    That said, I LOVE light in the evening. I notice so many more people out and about, walking, enjoying the outdoors. Too many people spend too much time indoors, I think. More outdoor time helps us with mood regulation, energy, so many things....Hello DST, and welcome back!! - 3/9/2012   5:22:51 PM
    I think the time for daylight savings is over - it served its purpose at the time it was enacted. But I don't see any benefits for continuing it. I think Arizonia has the right idea. - 3/9/2012   5:13:43 PM
  • 43
    First of all, snarky comments such as calling someone "crazy" or telling them to move to another state, are totally uncalled for. If you're not bothered by DST, that's fine; but for those of us who ARE bothered, don't call us crazy! I hate DST. It's very hard to get up when it's dark and much harder to go to sleep when it's still light. It takes me months to get used to it. My body breathes a sign of relief when it's over. Thanks for tips. I'm willing to give them a try. - 3/9/2012   4:30:44 PM
  • 42
    I've never noticed a change in myself during DST but I will pay more attention to it this year. - 3/9/2012   3:22:38 PM
  • 41
    Most of my clocks auto set to DST changes. My "body clock" isn't one of them. I am very time orientated: watching the clock the day long. I get hungry at the same time regardless of what the clock says. When the clock moves forward, we eat early. No one seems to mind. - 3/9/2012   2:18:17 PM
  • 40
    You're joking, right? I LOVE DST!!! I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and now I'll be getting much more daylight at night after work. Without DST I feel like it's bedtime before I've even left work. DST gets me back on track. - 3/9/2012   2:17:24 PM
  • 39
    I hate DST. It messes me up for days no matter how hard I try to adapt to it beforehand. I can't wait until I have kids and have to deal with them being cranky by it too. - 3/9/2012   1:44:58 PM
  • 38
    Seeing that Daylight "Savings" Time is now more than half the year, maybe we should change the name to "Standard" and call the few winter months "Daylight Squandering Time". I dread tomorrow night's change as I'll need at least a week to adjust. - 3/9/2012   11:12:14 AM
    I am tricky. Since I am retired, I don't have to be at any place at a particular time in the morning unless it is Sunday School and church on Sunday or Bible Study on Wednesday. I change my clocks, but I don't change my body clock. For standard time, I am getting up at 6 am and for DST I will be getting up at 7 am. All of my schedule is "bumped" so the only thing that suffers is I don't get my nap on Sunday or Wednesday. - 3/9/2012   10:40:00 AM
    Hate, hate, hate DST. - 3/9/2012   10:20:07 AM
  • 35
    I hate it. I'm a mess for a couple of weeks. Also, I would rather enjoy the sun earlier in the morning. Now my morning walk will be back to black. Boo to DST!!!! - 3/9/2012   9:47:08 AM
  • 34
    Even though I am not a clock watcher kind of person, the time changes (both directions) mess up my sleep schedule for weeks after. I don't sleep a lot in general, and have some sleep issues that are exacerbated by the changes. I am really not looking forward to next week, plus it is a travel week for me which makes it worse. - 3/9/2012   8:57:45 AM
  • 33
    OMG I love it! I don't care about the lost hour, it means that it will be light out later in the day! I get motivated just thinking about the heat that is on it's way. After work it is still light out and I feel like going to the gym and doing some extra stuff, any thing. I'm just so much happier after the time change. - 3/9/2012   8:53:22 AM
    I've ALWAYS hated Daylight Savings Time. I'm not sure I EVER make the adjustment. It's worse living in the south, because I'm a person that wakes with the sun. As the sun breaks the horizon, so do I. And here in Georgia, When DST hits, that means sunrise is at 8:00 am. TOO LATE FOR ME!!!! I'd much rather have my sunshine in the morning than in the evening... - 3/9/2012   8:35:09 AM
  • 31
    Although I try to slowly adjust the week before the time change, it still takes me at least a week to adjust to the new time. I'm not the happiest during this time. I like the previous comment's thoughts about trying melatonin. I used to take it a long time ago and maybe it's time to try it again. - 3/9/2012   8:15:11 AM
  • 30
    The spring time change is worse for me too. Good advice Thank You! - 3/9/2012   8:07:49 AM
  • 29
    Hmm. - 3/9/2012   7:20:34 AM
  • 28
    Oh and...there is a group of nitwits now trying to get us on CST to go with Chicago! They are will be dark by 4pm if we do that! My son recently moved from Chicago and when I flew up there in winter it was significantly darker than here in west central IN. - 3/9/2012   6:27:25 AM
  • 27
    We live in Indiana and for years didn't have to deal with DST. I hate it because I'm a morning person. My business son likes it because it keeps us in sync with the east coast and business dealings and he still has time to do something outside when he gets home from work. My plan this year was to start getting up a half hour earlier for the past two weeks hoping that would help. - 3/9/2012   6:25:05 AM
  • 26
    I also have a strong internal clock & awake at the same time every day. I have often wondered why we don't "split the difference", change the clock 30 minutes & leave it year round. Our lives would be simpler & our bodies used to the same time. (but nobody asked me) - 3/9/2012   6:03:01 AM
  • 25
    Why do we as a nation persist in this resetting of the clocks if it is detrimental to our productivity? We don't really get anymore hours of daylight, we just fool ourselves into getting them at night by resetting our clocks. Such absurdity. - 3/9/2012   4:53:21 AM
    I lived for years with Daylight Savings Time/Daylight Standard Time. It always meant adjusting the alarm clock (and all clocks in the house) forward or backward. Now I'm retired and living in Arizona where we don't make the switch. The only difference I notice is when I call my family (Eastern Time Zone) and remind them that now I am on the same time period as California or back on Mountain Time. - 3/9/2012   4:46:04 AM
  • 23
    Man, I need to go to bed earlier! - 3/9/2012   12:48:21 AM
  • 22
    I completely agree with you on this subject.

    I always thought it was just in my head when I was experiencing moodiness, sluggish and cranky behaviors.

    Thank God it wasn't in my head. Thanks for that.

    I have noticed DST changes with my kids as well. It seems to affect them the same ways it affects me. Even though we try to slowly start changing there routine in the days before so it wont be such of a shock to their systems.

    Thanks for the helpful tips. - 3/8/2012   11:17:40 PM
    Interesting suggestions! - 3/8/2012   9:15:59 PM
  • 123ELAINE456
    The change in time takes some time to get use too. I don't work but even so it affects me. Will have to try the Melatonin sometime to see if it would help with the insommia problem I have. Thank You. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 3/8/2012   9:04:20 PM
  • 19
    Don't have daylight savings here. I know I'd miss my sleep too. - 3/8/2012   7:13:45 PM
  • 18
    I have never been affected by the time change - I go to bed when I'm tired, get up when it gets matter what the clock says. - 3/8/2012   6:29:04 PM
  • 17
    It's funny the different responses here.... I think I don't notice as much because I am not a "clock" person.... I don't live by the clock other than that I have to be to work at a certain time... other than that, we live life as it happens! More power to those who live by the clock, but I think they probably are bothered more by the time change too! Spring Forward!!! - 3/8/2012   4:31:12 PM
  • 16
    I work weekend nights at the hospital so I'm already sleep deprived on Mondays lol! So one hour less work :) - 3/8/2012   4:16:01 PM
  • 15
    Move to Arizona - 3/8/2012   2:35:06 PM
  • 14
    I usually a bit tired the first day because I ususally wind up staying up later for some reason or another, but after that I am good. I really enjoy having the extra time to walk outdoors vs. always working out in the gym. BTW, melatonin does help me when I have trouble sleeping. Hopefully, it will help others also. Good luck everyone! - 3/8/2012   2:24:56 PM
  • 13
    It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't used to 3rd shift but am stuck on 1st right now. - 3/8/2012   2:00:37 PM
  • ANNEV2012
    One hour, one way or the other shouldn't "disturb" anyone. It's less than driving across state lines!
    It's less than most of us experience by going to bed at a different time from one night to the next!!! - 3/8/2012   1:54:54 PM
  • 11
    i tend to obsess over it... it takes me a while to get over it,, but this year i made sure i wasn't working lololol.... - 3/8/2012   1:54:31 PM
  • 10
    I hate daylight savings. Yeah, it's nice to have the extra hour in the fall, but not worth change and loss of early morning daylight in the spring. AND IT SERVES TO REAL PURPOSE!

    Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine. - 3/8/2012   1:15:44 PM
    I have a hard time, but I love the change once I get used to it. - 3/8/2012   1:07:34 PM
  • MELISSAB1957
    @Cazbraz - How old is your daughter? How much melatonin do you give her? I find it works well for me on those occasions when I have trouble getting to sleep, and I know what dosage works for me...just wondered how you'd dose someone younger? - 3/8/2012   12:24:23 PM
  • 7
    I've never really noticed a big response or difference to DST myself, but I've always been an early riser and early to bed kind of person, so maybe that's why?! My youngest daughter suffers terribly from anxiety and nervousness when faced with emotional/fear challenges such as going to the dentist or a hospital visit or school performances, and I give her Melatonin for those occasions - it certainly helps her relax and cope more easily and I have to say she has gone into school a couple of times now yawning!! The effects don't last long though, as I guess they relax you to the point of going to sleep and then that's the job done. I only give her 1 tablet if school's involved, but 2 if she's at home and something else major has happened. I'd definitely suggest using Melatonin if you have nights of complete insomnia. Happy Sleeping Everyone!! - 3/8/2012   12:07:27 PM
  • 6
    I don't usually have trouble adjusting to the time change. (But neither do I hold to a rigid asleep at X:00 o'clock, awake at Y:00 o'clock schedule every day. Maybe that flex to my sleep helps; I don't know.)

    I do find that having the sun come into my room "early" makes a lot of the difference. It's a natural wake-up call as opposed to the violent jar of an alarm clock, so I can rouse slowly from deeper sleep to REM to wakefulness. - 3/8/2012   12:02:57 PM
  • BRIKO2011
    I don't recall having major problems with the adjustment, but perhaps I haven't paid much attention to it. I plan to be alert for all the symptoms you mentioned this year. One thing that ALWAYS helps me wake up in the morning - splash cold water on my face! I love spring and hope you (we) all adjust well! - 3/8/2012   12:00:14 PM
  • 4
    I hate having to deal with daylight savings time, mainly because in the spring, I do not like how now all of a sudden I'm waking up in the dark again. As far as all the symptoms you mentioned, I have absolutely no side effects, it's just another day and doesn't affect me. I'm amazed that people have such a difficult time dealing with it. I guess I just don't have that strong of an internal clock. I often stay up until 3 in the morning on weekends and go to bed anywhere from 10pm to 1am on weekdays, so take away an hour here or there and it's no big deal. - 3/8/2012   11:43:05 AM

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