Get ready to feel extra, extra tired this coming week. On Sunday, Mar. 10, Daylight Saving Time begins. We'll all set our clocks forward one hour, and as we "spring ahead" into what is hopefully warmer weather, we'll feel the loss of that one simple hour big time. Daylight Savings Time is so unpopular because it leaves us feeling drowsy and sleepy no matter what we do, and it has other effects on our health as well. If you're a female who gets her period, you've probably wondered: can Daylight Savings Time affect your period?
Whether we have to set our clocks forward or back, Daylight Saving Time can affect our internal clocks, which leaves us feeling like we're dealing with something similar to jet lag: sleepy, cranky, and just generally not fantastic. This is because your body's circadian rhythm has been thrown off course, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, this affects how much melatonin is released in your system. Melatonin is the sleep hormone we all have that alerts our bodies when it's time to go to sleep based on daylight. As the National Sleep Foundation points out, springing forward is particularly difficult. This is because, before the clocks changed, it was probably bright and sunny outside when you woke up, and that "helped your body's internal clock activate brain regions that are involved in stimulating alertness and energy." But after you set the clocks ahead, that extra hour of light in the afternoon means the morning gets more dark - and that messes with your body's internal clock, making it harder for you wake up.
So, since your internal clock is in a complete state of disarray, that means that other parts of your body and your health can be affected. Many women wonder if it's going to affect when they get their period. It's natural to question whether this change is going to switch up a regular menstruation cycle, but there's good news: there's no evidence that this can happen. Daylight Saving Time itself isn't going to mess up your cycle, but it may happen indirectly.
However, it's worth noting that a different sleep pattern can change up your period. According to Health, staying up too late or not getting enough sleep can affect your hormones, and that can impact your ovulation and menstruation. A study in Sleep Medicine found that people who work irregular hours are more likely to experience irregular periods. Fiona Baker, PhD, program director of SRI International's Human Sleep Research Laboratory, and author of the review, said, "Shifting your body clock affects your reproductive hormones, which influence ovulation and menstruation."
Basically, not getting enough sleep can affect your period. So, if Daylight Saving time makes you stay up later because you couldn't wake up as early as usual, that may affect your period. And if your sleep schedule is completely thrown out of whack, that could do it too. And as Livestrong points out, if your sleeping schedule is impacting your melatonin levels, that can mess with your cycle as well.
You probably don't need to worry about this happening if you just feel a little extra sleepy. But if Daylight Saving Time really, really changes up your sleep schedule, then that could possibly affect your period. It shouldn't be something you need to worry about, though: the extra sleepiness will usually clear up in a few days, and things will go back to normal.