- Clock change crisis – why this weekend is bad news for so many people
- The surprising health problem that you’ll get on Sunday
- How to eat and become less SAD
See the clock in the picture above?
I found the weirdest, most terrifying steampunk clock picture for a reason.
That’s how clocks look to me this week… dreadful things ticking down the time until winter.
OK, so yes I get an hour’s extra sleep on Sunday morning once the clocks change…
Oh, the darkness! The picking the kids up in the dark… the dark mornings… the dark afternoons…. I do get used to it but I personally find it a battle to adjust – for reasons I’ll explain.
If you’re the same, then there’s a funny article on the humorous (sometimes) website The Daily Mash with this headline:
Reasons why people get depressed in winter fairly obvious
The spoof article says “researchers into seasonal affective disorder believe it may be caused by everything being dark, cold and awful for months on end.”
You no doubt have heard of seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D). This is a form of depression that people get at this time of year, often triggered by that big shift you feel when the clocks change and everything gets dark.
- Anxiety and a heightening of everyday stresses
- Poor concentration
- Lack of energy
- Struggling to get out of bed
- Low, sad feelings you can’t explain
- Apathy and lethargy
- Catching illnesses and infections easily
Most people (like the fake researchers in the Daily Mash) put it down to the darkness, lack of sunlight and the general bleakness of British wintertime.
However, there is something more scientific that will happen on Sunday once the clocks have rolled back.
What will happen is that your biological clock – known as your circadian rhythm – will become altered. It then takes time for this to adjust, to get back into rhythm again.
I reckon this is why I am prone to a week or two of serious lethargy and misery after the clocks change each year.
A guy called Mike Sesma from the National Institutes of Health in the USA keeps tabs on all the circadian rhythm research that gets done.
One of his conclusions from the studies he collects is that almost ALL of our bodily functions are tied to our biological clocks.
A jolt to the rhythm of that clock can instantly affect your alertness, energy, mood, metabolism. Which is why “clock dysfunction” is linked to health problems including insomnia, diabetes and depression.
As I wrote earlier this year, this can even affect organs like your kidneys, particularly if you’re on medication…
That’s because the kidneys control when and how drugs are eliminated from your body. They too run on a biological clock, which can be disrupted. Take a look at this: Is your body clock damaging your kidneys?
So the S.A.D problem is not all simply about a lack of light…or the sudden onset of cold weather and dark afternoons… it’s about the tiny intricate clockwork biology inside you, and how it can be so easily put out of joint.
If you’re interested, take a look at this free Circadian Rhythms factsheet…
Lesser known solutions…
Of course, the obvious advice is true. After the clocks go back, make the most of the light and get out into the fresh air for a walk whenever you can.
Walking has another benefit too…
Exercise releases endorphins. These chemicals are your body’s natural morphine – they give you a boost of positivity while reducing your perception of pain.
You should also increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. There are big quantities of the stuff in fish and seafood. They’re essential for a healthy brain structure, sharper concentration and a better mood at this time of year.
One of the most powerful shortcuts is to take a krill oil supplement like this one.
The reason why we recommend krill not fish oils is because of the following:
- Krill are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ‘phospholipids’.
- They are tiny shrimp-like creatures at the bottom of the food chain, so they are less contaminated by mercury and other pollutants.
- To produce krill oil takes less treatment and meddling that can remove nutrients.
- Krill oil doesn’t spoil like common fish oils.
- Krill has been shown to significantly reduce joint inflammation and arthritic symptoms which can flare up in the colder months.
You can find out more details on our webpage here: the benefits of krill oil
So if you do experience problems at this time of year I hope this email can serve as a little clock-change survival kit.
Until next time, stay healthy!