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Plant City Observer Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Focus on Fitness: Body clock and wellness

Don’t let daylight saving time mess with your fitness regimen.
by: Columnist Columnist

With daylight saving time, the state of Florida goes through a complete hour shift every spring and fall. This weekend, we will be “falling back” an hour.

First proposed in a satirical essay by Benjamin Franklin as a means to save more candles used in the evenings, daylight saving time has been adopted by countries around the world since World War I. Much of the United States has consistently observed the time change since the mid-1960s.

An extra hour of sleep Sunday morning may seem great, but is it really all beneficial?

The body’s “natural internal clock,” the human circadian rhythm, sets the pace for all biological functions of the body. Research from the University of Munich shows this natural biological shift occurs in four-minute intervals, the same length of time the sun takes to cross one line of longitude.

Daylight savings time hinders the adjustments the body would naturally make to the changing hours of sunlight in the summer. When the social time shifts back in the fall, the body has almost gotten into sync with the social time. Instead, another radical shift of an hour is introduced and the body has to start the process over again.

Each time change messes with the body clock and triggers underlying health concerns. Sleep pattern change is the most significant issue recognized by researchers. A Finnish study found the two days following the time change increases the risk of strokes by 8%. Danish researchers have associated time changes with an 11% increase in depression, according to a 2016 study.

The same fatigue factor studied in traffic and in the workplace can show up at the gym. When the body is tired and just not quite “with it,” exercise-related injuries can occur.

Regular activity can seem like an extra effort or even boring. Coordination  and concentration may seem off.

Go to bed a little later on the Friday and Saturday nights before the change. That might mean feeling extra tired when you go to bed those nights, but your body will thank you for it later.

Sleep a little later this Saturday morning. Yes, you have a health reason to sleep in for an extra hour. This will make it easier to go to bed later and still sleep a little longer come Monday morning.

Help your children adjust by starting the shift earlier. Try putting them to bed 30 minutes later the entire week before and let them sleep extra on Saturday. Their teachers will thank you the following week.


Jennifer E. Closshey, Ph.D., is a doctor of integrative health based out of Plant City. Contact her at [email protected].

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