Updated: October 14, 2020
People usually have strong feelings about daylight saving time. Some people are not happy about losing an hour of daylight while others are thrilled with the prospect of an extra hour of sleep in the morning. Especially if you’re like most sleep-deprived Americans. The CDC recommends adults get seven or more hours of sleep every night, but over 35 percent of Americans don’t get seven hours a night.1
When does daylight saving time end?
Sleep is so precious, one survey conducted by the Better Sleep Council found that three in 10 Americans think an extra hour of it is worth $100 or more.2 But on November 1, when the clock rolls back and you gain an hour of shut-eye, your body may feel the impact in other ways. Read on to learn how to work with your body and naturally ease into the time change — so you can feel your best as the days start to grow shorter.
Are you really gaining an hour of sleep?
Starting at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November, you’ll “fall back” an hour — but it might not have the effect you expect. Your sleep cycle works alongside your circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle of mental, physical and behavioral changes you experience throughout the day and night. This rhythm helps set your sleep pattern by signaling the production and release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes drowsiness and relaxation.3
Since melatonin is produced as daylight diminishes, the time change means you may feel more sluggish or groggy in the evening with the sun setting earlier each day.4 And while you may have the best intentions of snagging those extra Z’s, most people have trouble falling asleep or wake up more frequently during the nights following the time change.5
What’s more, when your circadian rhythm is disrupted due to a reduction in daylight hours, it could lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression tied to the change in seasons.6 Weight gain, low energy and appetite changes are common symptoms specific to the winter-onset of this disorder.6 The Mayo Clinic recommends seeing your doctor if you experience symptoms that linger more than a few days.6
Ease into the time change
One of the best ways to avoid any negative health impacts the extra hour may bring is to ease your body into the time change. Here are a few tips to work naturally with your circadian rhythm so you can make the adjustment a little bit easier.
1. Try going to bed an hour later. Falling asleep later the Saturday before the time change may keep you from feeling sluggish. Avoid sleeping in on Sunday to give yourself time to adjust properly.
2. Let the light in. Light, especially daylight, will help fight feelings of tiredness as your body adapts to the extra hour. Before bed, open the blinds a little to let in as much early morning sun as you can.
3. Finish eating a few hours before bedtime. Your metabolism naturally slows in the evenings,7 so when you squeeze in a late-night snack, your body is working to digest the food instead of resting and repairing its cells for the next day. Plus, eating meals later in the evening may cause indigestion — which may make it harder to nod off.
Do you need help when it comes to figuring out the best time to eat for optimal weight loss? Jenny Craig's Rapid Results program is based on the Nobel Prize-winning science on circadian rhythms and aligns your meals with your natural 24-hour biological clock.
4. Set your cell phone aside. Daylight isn’t the only type of light that affects your circadian rhythm. Your cell phone, e-book and television have something in common: they emit blue light. When you use your devices before bed, you’re exposing yourself to short-wavelength light that may suppress your melatonin levels, ultimately disrupting your sleep.8 Resist the urge to check your devices before bed — you might
sleep better without them!
5. Practice sleep hygiene. Getting better sleep will help keep your circadian rhythm in check, making the transition a little easier. Maintaining sleep hygiene, or healthy sleeping habits, sets you up for a great rest every night with or without an extra hour.
We hope these tips will help you feel your best as you prepare for the time change — and don’t forget to set your clock back November 1!
Discover how following your circadian rhythm can positively impact your health, and weight, with Jenny Craig. Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started on the road to better health.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Reviewed by: Monica Ropar, Nutritionist
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus