How Your Spine Is Affected By Daylight Savings Time

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 11, 2019

Daylight Savings

Daylights savings time happened over the weekend, and even though you’ve had a night of sleep since the clocks moved forward, if you’re anything like me, you probably are still working on getting up to full speed following the time change. Even though we only lose an hour of sleep, it can feel like you lost a lot more because the time change can affect your circadian rhythm. Today, we take a closer look at why daylights savings time can be hard on your spine and your whole body.

The Time Change And Your Body

Here’s a look at three ways daylight savings time and loss of an hour can affect your health.

  1. Circadian Rhythm – Your circadian rhythm is essentially a 24-hour internal clock that helps cycle your brain throughout different states as the day continues. It helps you feel more awake during the daylight hours and more drowsy when nighttime falls. However, the loss of even an hour can throw this cycle out of whack. For others, they may not be as tired as normal because their body still feels like it’s earlier than the clock says, so they may end up staying up later or struggling to fall asleep. This too will affect your ability to get restful sleep, which is a time when your body performs many restorative processes. This inability to achieve enough restful sleep can lead to spinal inflammation, worsening of current back discomfort, or increases in blood pressure.
  2. Your Diet – Your appetite and diet can also be impacted by the time shift. Again, this can be caused by changes in your circadian rhythm. These changes can disrupt our normal eating cycle, putting you at an increased risk of impulse eating, overeating and cravings for unhealthy options. Poor food choices can lead to weight gain, while sugary or carbohydrate-dense options can contribute to the onset of inflammation in your spine and other areas of the body. This can lead to pinched nerves or other compression-related issues. Try to make some healthy snack and meal choices in the first few days after the time change.
  3. Injuries – Studies have shown that you are more likely to get injured in certain ways in the first few days after a time shift. For example, there are typically an uptick in car crashes and work-related injuries in the first three days after daylights savings time because, you guessed it, circadian rhythms have been thrown off and people are groggy, sleep-deprived and less focused, all of which can lead to injury. Be careful on your morning and afternoon commute, and pay attention while you’re on the job, especially in the first few days after daylights savings time. These injuries can include things like whiplash, vertebral fractures or even serious spinal cord injuries.

So strive to be safe today, eat a few healthy meals and get plenty of sleep to try and get your circadian rhythm back on track. And if you want help with your spine, give Dr. Sinicropi’s office a call today.

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