Daylight Savings Time and Circadian Rhythms

Daylight Savings Time is almost upon us, an on Sunday when our clocks “fall back” one hour, some of us might notice a slight disruption in our daily sleep and wake cycle, regulated by the circadian rhythm (“circa” = around; “dian” = day). The effect is similar to the “jet-lag” people experience when traveling, especially on long flights that cross several time zones.  While adjusting to the different times, you may experience any number of unpleasant effects related to your disrupted circadian rhythm such as headaches, irritability, insomnia, day-time fatigue, and decreased immune function – all things you would likely prefer to avoid when entering into the holiday and cold and flu seasons.1–3
It can take several days to naturally adjust to the time change, but eventually your body will reset the internal circadian clock and return to a regular sleep cycle.  This “circadian reset” is accomplished by way of a hormone called melatonin.  Melatonin is produced in the brain by the pineal gland and it is controlled by environmental light or darkness.4 When it is dark, the pineal gland secretes melatonin, letting your body know it’s time to sleep. When your eyes detect light, the pineal gland stops secreting melatonin and you begin to feel awake and alert.
Melatonin is also commonly found in over-the-counter (OTC) supplements for promoting sleep, including Pinnaclife Sleep Support that can be a useful tool to help restore a natural sleep cycle.  This is especially helpful for people that are changing time zones, work overnight shifts, or even to help adjust to Daylight Saving Time.5,6 It may also be useful for middle aged and elderly people with trouble sleeping because the pineal gland produces less melatonin with age.7,8
It is important for people to maintain a regular sleep cycle and get adequate sleep every night.  You will notice a quick decline in your overall health and well being when your sleep cycles are disrupted.  This is because while you are asleep, your cells are actually working to repair themselves from the stresses and natural wear and tear that happens throughout the day.  Without sleep, these restorative processes are interrupted.  This can make people prone to a wide variety of health problems including psychiatric and mood disorders, headaches, decreased functional status, premature aging, inflammation, and even cancer.9–14 It is well known that one of the best things you can do for your overall health is to incorporate good sleep practices to minimize disruptions to your circadian rhythm and get adequate sleep every night.12,15,16
According to the National Sleep Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic and Better Health Channel good sleep practices include:

  • Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day aiming for 8-9 hours of sleep to establish a regular circadian rhythm
  • Limit the amount of light in the bedroom while sleeping, as even small amounts can disrupt melatonin production (no TV’s or computer screens!)
  • Try to only use your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy, avoiding other activities that can keep you awake such as watching TV or reading
  • Get daily physical activity, preferably in the morning or late afternoon, while avoiding strenuous physical activity or exercise in the hours before bedtime
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises prior to bedtime
  • Avoid stressful or emotional thoughts and conversations before bedtime (“don’t bring your problems to bed”)
  • Avoid using any stimulants within 6-8 hours of bedtime, including caffeine, energy drinks/supplements, nicotine, sugar and certain medications (remember some herbal teas and chocolate may contain varying levels of caffeine)
  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime, especially spicy and greasy foods that might contribute to heartburn, or high carbohydrate foods that might provide excess energy
  • Make your bedroom as comfortable for sleep as possible with a slightly cool temperature (between 60-70° F), appropriate ventilation, darkness, quiet, and of course a quality mattress and quality pillows and bedding
  • Do not try and force sleep – if you are unable to sleep, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity like reading in another room until you are tired instead of laying in bed and watching the clock all night
  • Avoid drinking too many fluids before bedtime to avoid waking up to use the restroom, but also keep a glass of water at your bedside to avoid a trip to the faucet if you wake up thirsty or coughing

It is best to avoid the use of prescription and antihistamine-based OTC sleep aids as much as possible, especially long-term (more than 1-2 weeks). Nutritional supplements like Pinnaclife Sleep Support can be a safer option for continued use, but it is important to work with your healthcare providers to find what works best for you.  To ensure utmost safety, only use supplements from trusted reputable companies that use safe and effective ingredients at the appropriate doses.
Pinnaclife Sleep Support was created using a safe and effective 2 mg dose of melatonin to help restore and maintain a natural circadian rhythm plus magnesium and curcumin to promote relaxation and restful sleep in a safe and natural way.17–19 Sleep Support can be safely used for extended durations to help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle.  The addition of the patented Olivamine 10® Max provides the restorative antioxidant support that your cells need, to help recharge and revitalize your body on a cellular level while you sleep.  You can also incorporate Pinnaclife Energy Support during the daytime to help safely combat fatigue following a night of disrupted sleep.

Learn more about the importance of sleep, risks associated with OTC and prescription sleep aids, and benefits from melatonin by reading some of our past newsletters on the subject

Alzheimer's, Insomnia & Anxiety

Fight Cancer With Sleep

You Need More Sleep

Sound Sleep for a Sound Mind 

Antihistamines, Insomnia, and Alzheimer's Disease


1. Zelinski EL, Deibel SH, McDonald RJ. The trouble with circadian clock dysfunction: multiple deleterious effects on the brain and body. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014;40:80–101. 

2. Daley M, Morin CM, LeBlanc M, Grégoire J-P, Savard J. The economic burden of insomnia: direct and indirect costs for individuals with insomnia syndrome, insomnia symptoms, and good sleepers. Sleep. 2009;32(1):55–64.

3. Spira AP, Kaufmann CN, Kasper JD, et al. Association between insomnia symptoms and functional status in U.S. older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2014;69(7):S35–41.

4. Brown GM, Ph D, Frcp C. Light , Melatonin and the Sleep-Wake Cycle. J Psychiatr Neurosci. 1994;19(5):345–353.

5. Arendt J. Jet-lag and shift work: (2). Therapeutic use of melatonin. J R Soc Med. 1999;92(8):402–5.

6. Lewy AJ. Clinical applications of melatonin in circadian disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2003;5(4):399–413.

7. Zeitzer JM, Duffy JF, Lockley SW, Dijk D, Czeisler CA. Plasma Melatonin Rhythms In Young and Older Humans During Sleep , Sleep Deprivation , and Wake. Sleep. 2007;30(11):1437–43.

8. Peuhkuri K, Sihvola N, Korpela R. Dietary factors and fluctuating levels of melatonin. Food Nutr Res. 2012;56:1–9.

9. Schernhammer ES, Schulmeister K. Melatonin and cancer risk: does light at night compromise physiologic cancer protection by lowering serum melatonin levels? Br J Cancer. 2004;90(5):941–3. 

10. Jung B, Ahmad N. Melatonin in cancer management: progress and promise. Cancer Res. 2006;66(20):9789–93.

11. León J, Acuña-Castroviejo D, Escames G, Tan D-X, Reiter RJ. Melatonin mitigates mitochondrial malfunction. J Pineal Res. 2005;38(1):1–9.

12. Irwin MR. Why Sleep Is Important for Health: A Psychoneuroimmunology Perspective. Annu Rev Psychol. 2014;66:143–72. 

13. Harrison L, Wilson S, Munafò MR. Exploring the associations between sleep problems and chronic musculoskeletal pain in adolescents : A prospective cohort study. Pain Res Manag. 2014;19(5):e139–45.

14. Rothman SM, Mattson MP. Sleep disturbances in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's diseases. Neuromolecular Med. 2012;14(3):194–204.

15. Vgontzas AN, Fernandez-mendoza J, Bixler EO, et al. Persistent Insomnia : the Role of Objective Short Sleep Duration and Mental Health. Sleep. 2012;35(1):61–68.

16. Wong MM, Robertson GC, Dyson RB. Prospective Relationship Between Poor Sleep and Substance-Related Problems in a National Sample of Adolescents. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015:1–8.

17. Xu Y, Ku B, Tie L, et al. Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB. Brain Res. 2006;1122(1):56–64. 

18. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010;72(2):149–54.

19. Meoli AL, Rosen C, Kristo D, et al. Oral Nonprescription Treatment for Insomnia : An Evaluation of Products With Limited Evidence. J Clin Sleep Med. 2005;1(2):173–187.

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