Daylight Saving Time Might Affect Your Appetite More Than You Think, According To Experts

I am solidly, thoroughly, so ready for 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. If you take Daylight Saving Time as seriously as I do, then you probably know that this marks the moment when clocks will fall back one full hour, giving you the opportunity to enjoy 60 more minutes in bed, an extra leisurely breakfast, or to knock some chores off of your to-do list. That one hour has the potential to throw your body a little out of whack, though, so to cut down on how Daylight Saving Time affects your appetite, for instance, experts say it's best to ease yourself into the transition. Don't sweat it too much, though — with a little careful planning and a whole lot of listening to your body, you'll be back to your regular routine in no time.

Lauren Smith, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian at Dietitians of Palm Valley, tells Elite Daily in an email that even though the time change might seem relatively minor, it still has the potential to affect your eating habits. "Considering there is only a one hour shift when the clocks fall back, Daylight Saving Time shouldn't affect your appetite at a physiological level," says Smith.

However, she adds, that doesn't mean the time change won't throw off your eating schedule. "What can affect your appetite during Daylight Saving is if you don't begin to adjust your diet to a new schedule as soon as the time changes," Smith explains.

Additionally, if you're super on top of your wellness routine and are motivated enough to work out in the morning, be extra intentional about adjusting your schedule to the new time. Smith says that when the clocks fall back, more people tend to work out earlier in the morning, which can be a problem if you don't also adjust your meal times. "The biggest mistakes I see most people make include pushing off meals or snacks far more than one hour," Smith explains, "doing intense physical activity on an empty stomach, and then having trouble managing their hunger later in the day." So get your reps in, but make sure to fuel up with plenty of healthy post-workout foods so that your body gets all of the nutrients it needs.

Overall, a gradual adjustment of your meal times is key, according to Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a pediatric neurologist at Duke University and Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert. "The week prior to the change, slowly move your bedtime later by 10 minutes each day and wake up 10 minutes later than normal," he tells Elite Daily in an email. As you move your bedtime, incrementally move your dinner time as well. Food intake can help set your body clock's timing, he says.

If keeping strictly to exact meal times after the time change stresses you out, try to focus more on your hunger patterns than eating lunch at, say, 1 p.m. on the dot every day.

"To maintain a schedule, try focusing on how frequently you are eating [instead of] stressing over the specific times you are eating," Smith suggests. Stay consistent by making sure that, throughout the day, you're eating plenty of protein and other important nutrients, she adds. Your body should then be able to make the shift with no major issues.