If you feel a bit sleepy after daylight saving time (and hungry enough to eat a horse), you’re not alone. The average American loses 40 minutes of shut-eye the night after daylight saving time begins, according to University of Michigan sleep researchers. And though that may not seem like a big deal, it’s more alarming than you would think. “Springing forward” has been associated with a range of misfortunes, from an increase in traffic accidents and workplace injuries to insatiable hunger. So, if you can’t seem to stay away from your office snack stash in the days that follow, the time change is likely to blame.
How do we know? Back in 2012, researchers examined the sleeping habits of adult men and women over the course of a week and found that those who were told to cut an hour and 20 minutes from their typical sleep time consumed an average of 559 extra calories per day. (FYI: That’s what you’d find in a McDonald’s Big Mac!)
Nutrition expert and star of My Diet is Better than Yours Jay Cardiello explains that when you don’t get enough sleep, levels of leptin (the “I’m full” hormone) drop, which in turn increases appetite and makes comfort food more appealing. And because sleep deprivation effects have been shown to linger for as long as six days after we switch the clocks, those additional daily calories can result in a pound of extra fat on your frame. (Think that’s bad? Check out these 50 Little Things Making You Fatter and Fatter!)
To stay on track with your better-body goals and ward off extra pounds, sip extra water (staying adequately hydrated helps keep the munchies away) and check out these 30 Things to Do Before Bed to Lose Weight.