Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is a friendly reminder that you’re going to lose an hour of sleep this weekend. And if history and science prove true, Daylight Savings Time beginning on Sunday, March 12th could mess with your energy, mood, and sleep cycles for a few days.
While it’s never fun to lose that hour of sleep, using this time to ease your way into a better morning routine might help you eat less throughout the day, improve your food choices, and impact your overall health for the better, according to science.
New research published in the journal Obesity showed that people whose circadian biological clocks have them wake up earlier—a.k.a a “morning person”—might be making better food choices than those who wake up later and have “night owl” tendencies to go to sleep later.
Some interesting patterns the researchers discovered:
- Evening types ate for about an hour later at night than morning types did, even though total daily calories didn’t differ much between groups. They ate approximately 430 more calories in the evening, which corresponds to 6 percent more of total calories in the evening hours as compared with morning types. (Earlier research has shown some links between late-night eating and weight gain.)
- Those ‘night owls’ tended to eat less protein and have slightly higher alcohol intake than morning types.
- Evening people ate more sugar in the morning, as well as consumed more fat and saturated fatty acids than morning people did.
“Early birds may have an extra advantage over night owls when it comes to fighting obesity as they are instinctively choosing to eat healthier foods earlier in the day,” said The Obesity Society spokesperson Courtney Peterson, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a press release. “Previous studies have shown that eating earlier in the day may help with weight loss and lower the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. What this new study shows is that our biological clocks not only affect our metabolism but also what we choose to eat.”
This isn’t the first study to support the case for being a morning person. Researchers at Appalachian State University conducted an experiment to see if people who exercised in the morning were healthier than those who exercised later in the day. The researchers had volunteers walk on a treadmill at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., or 7 p.m. The study results showed that for all of the volunteers, those who exercised at 7 a.m. experienced about a 10 percent reduction in blood pressure that carried through the remainder of the day, according to the press release. They also experienced a 25 percent dip in blood pressure at night, slept longer, and had more beneficial sleep cycles than when they exercised at other times of the day, according to the release.
Will you use Daylight Savings Time as the jump-start for your morning workout routine?