Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

This is how you stay fit despite the time change

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  • Why is there summer and winter time?
  • What does changing the clock do to your body?
  • What are the health consequences of the time change?
  • This is how you can better overcome the clock change to winter time:

On October 29, 2023 it will be that time again: at 3 a.m. the clock will be set back one hour. In winter we always have the more pleasant of the two time changes, as we are given one hour on the night from Saturday to Sunday.

For everyone who can’t remember when the clock goes forward or back, there’s a little reminder: in summer the garden furniture before the house put up again in winter back.

Why is there summer and winter time?

In order to save energy, the time change was introduced in Germany in the wake of the 1980 oil crisis – a topic that suddenly regained dramatic relevance last winter. The price for this is a shifted biorhythm twice a year, to which many people react with fatigue and a lack of concentration. Studies suggest that there are also health consequences and risks, for example the risk of heart attack and stroke increases in the 2 weeks after switching. With our tips you can make the time change this spring without any problems!

What does changing the clock do to your body?

Actually, everything could be quite simple: our internal clock tells us when we should be awake and when we need sleep. The body regulates this with the hormone melatonin. This makes us tired and also stimulates the immune system and the repair of cell damage. Melatonin production is determined by genes, daylight and sleep routines.

However, with alarm clocks, appointments and irregular working hours, many people unintentionally work against their own biorhythm. The time change poses a particular problem here. Our internal clock cannot be adjusted as easily as the radio alarm clock. That’s why we’re not tired in winter after switching to our usual bedtime because our body lags behind for an hour. And if the alarm clock rings earlier in the summer without you being able to sleep earlier, a lack of sleep is inevitable. This is the same effect as jet lag.

By the way: A study shows that morning people, i.e. early risers, adapt to the time change much more quickly than evening people or late risers.

What are the health consequences of the time change?

Changing the clock disrupts your biorhythm. The hormonal balance of the fatigue hormone melatonin, but also the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, needs to settle down for a few days. Many people therefore complain about various problems due to lack of sleep during the changeover period (around 8 to 14 days after the time change). Inner restlessness, headaches and irritability occur more frequently during this time, explains Dr. Gerd Herold, consultant for the pronova BKK health insurance company.

Above all, however, many people suffer from sleep problems as a result of the change. Around 24% cannot sleep through the night or wake up at the slightest noise, and 13% have difficulty falling asleep, according to the results of a Forsa survey. The problems are now particularly severe for people who already have sleep disorders.

Other side effects can include loss of appetite, depressive moods or even fluctuations in heart rate. People who naturally get tired later and therefore sleep longer have to struggle with the change to summer time. Various studies also see a connection between the time change and an increase in traffic accidents and heart attacks in the days afterwards. But don’t panic! You mustn’t forget that the most accidents and heart attacks always happen on Mondays. Still, it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of preparation to be fit next week.

This is how you can better overcome the clock change to winter time:

1. Go to sleep earlier

Start going to bed a little later every day now (when switching to daylight saving time, you should do the same thing, only in reverse: go to sleep a little earlier day after day). It’s best to adapt your meals to this rhythm.

2. Use daylight

The biorhythm is influenced by light. That’s why it’s best to leave the curtains open this weekend and use the morning rays of sunshine to wake you up. You should also get out into the daylight as much as possible during the day. Also a good idea: a daylight alarm clock that gives you a good dose of light to wake up in the morning.

3. Go outside

Anyone who is disrupted from their normal sleep rhythm sleeps worse, is more tired, less motivated and has a harder time concentrating. A simple antidote for this is fresh air. Use your lunch breaks to take a short walk or go shopping by bike.

4. Ensure optimal conditions for falling asleep

If you generally sleep well, you will hardly have any problems with the time change. That’s why you should pay particular attention to ensuring that you have a healthy night’s sleep in the next few days: Don’t eat large meals in the evening, postpone your exercise program until the morning or lunchtime and put your cell phone and laptop away at least 2 hours before you go to sleep.

5. Take it easy

Use the days to plan a little more relaxed. Don’t stress yourself out too much, don’t schedule early morning or evening appointments and give your body time to get used to the change.

Many people are annoyed by the time change and are a little more tired than usual for the first few days afterwards. Since this affects each person very differently, the time it takes to adapt to the new day-night rhythm varies. Fresh air also helps your body cope with the new times.

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