Don’t Let the Time Change Set Your Health Clock Back

Medically Reviewed
November 7, 2023

Every year, when the clocks fall back for Daylight Saving Time, many people experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and other health problems. This is because the time change disrupts our circadian rhythm, our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  

Our circadian rhythm is regulated by a number of factors, including light exposure, mealtimes, and exercise. When the time change occurs, it can take our bodies several days to adjust. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:  

  • Fatigue: Losing and even gaining an hour of sleep throws off our sleep schedules, leaving us feeling tired and sluggish all day long.  
  • Difficulty sleeping: That same disruption in your schedule can make it harder to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day.  
  • Mood swings: All of this sleep disruption can also affect our mood, making us irritable and anxious. Not to mention the lack of sunlight which can impact your serotonin levels, making you feel a little lackluster.  
  • Digestive problems: Our eating schedules shift as well, which can disrupt our digestive system. Eating later in the evening can lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.  
  • Increased risk of accidents: When we’re tired, we’re more likely to make mistakes and have accidents.  

Preventing Fatigue During Time Changes  

There are many things you can do to prevent fatigue and other health problems during time changes:  

  • Adjust your sleep schedule gradually: In the days leading up to the time change, start going to bed and waking up 15-20 minutes earlier or later each day. This will help your body adjust to the new time change more quickly.  
  • Get enough sleep: Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (yes, even on weekends).  
  • Expose yourself to sunlight: Sunlight helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. Get outside in the morning for at least 30 minutes to get sunlight exposure.  
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep. Avoid consuming them in the hours leading up to bedtime.  
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine: A relaxing bedtime routine can help you wind down and fall asleep more easily. This might include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music.  

 Integrative Therapies to Offset the Impacts of Time Changes  

In addition to the above lifestyle changes, some integrative therapies can help offset the impacts of time changes and protect you from extreme fatigue.  

These therapies include:  

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. It is effective in treating various conditions, including fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings.  
  • Massage: Massage therapy can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also help to improve circulation and reduce muscle tension.  
  • IV drip therapy: IV drip therapy involves infusing vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream. It can help to boost energy levels, improve sleep quality, and reduce fatigue.  
  • Nutraceuticals and supplements: Several nutraceuticals and supplements can help to improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue. Some popular options include melatonin, magnesium, and L-theanine.  

The Importance of Gut Health and Diet  

Gut health is also vital for maintaining overall health and well-being. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria that play a role in digestion, immunity, and mood. When the gut is out of balance, it can lead to a variety of health problems, including fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings.  

To maintain a healthy gut, it is essential to eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol.  

Clinical Nutritionist Perspective  

From a clinical nutritionist perspective, there are a few key things to keep in mind to maintain your health equilibrium during time changes:  

  • Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day: This will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent energy crashes.  
  • Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods: These foods are nutrient-rich and easier to digest than processed foods.  
  • Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet: Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for good health.  
  • Choose healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds, can help to improve energy levels and reduce fatigue.  
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality.  
  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important for overall health and well-being.  
  • Avoid blue light from televisions, computers, and phones for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool at night. 

Integrative Treatment Strategies with Nava

If you struggle to manage fatigue or other health problems during time changes, consider talking to your integrative healthcare team for a comprehensive approach.  

While the biannual time change may set our clocks back, with proper awareness and proactive steps, we can overcome its disruptive effects on our health.  

By implementing lifestyle adjustments, exploring integrative therapies, and prioritizing gut health and a balanced diet, we can better safeguard our well-being during these transitions.  

For personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to seek advice from the expert team at Nava Health, who can offer personalized recommendations to address your specific needs. Your health is a precious asset, and with the right strategies, you can ensure that the time change doesn’t leave you feeling behind in the race for well-being. 

Schedule your wellness assessment with Nava Health today!

Image Attribution

StephanieM Headshot Doctor - Nava Health

Stephanie is an autoimmune advocate and Functional Nutritionist who blends science, humor, and herbalism to create personalized nutrition and integrative health strategies. With over five years of clinical experience, Stephanie has helped numerous clients overcome various health issues, from weight management to autoimmunity and hormonal balance.