Setting our clocks back an hour when daylight saving time ends in November seems like a bummer, especially since that means the sun will set even earlier in the evening and we have nothing but shorter days to look forward to. The only plus seems to be that extra hour of sleep we get overnight—except that’s not exactly the case. Turns out, DST wreaks havoc on not only your sleep schedule, but also your hunger hormones.
According to a review in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, folks actually catch less Zzz’s the week following autumn’s daylight saving time—not more, as many people assume—because the transition messes with your sleep cycle or circadian rhythm. And, as many of us already know, less sleep is usually synonymous with an angrier appetite.
“Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and decreased levels of leptin, the satiety hormone,”Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, Founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, explained in our article 25 Reasons You’re Gaining Weight. “Research also shows that when we’re sleep-deprived, our brains respond more strongly to junk food and have less of an ability to practice portion control.” In other words, sleepiness will probably make the free donuts in the break room seem irresistible.
And even more disheartening, an American Heart Association study discovered that people who slept about an hour and 20 minutes less consumed 549 more calories the next day than the control group. Skimp out on sleep for less than a week, and that can throw about a pound of fat onto your frame! Not to mention, lack of shut-eye hours also equals lack of productivity, so getting to your usual 6 p.m. spin class may seem more grueling than usual. Avoid staying up late, which is one of the 50 Little Things Making You Fatter and Fatter, and log the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to avoid added pounds this fall.