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Is Daylight Saving Giving You a Headache?

Is Daylight Saving Giving You a Headache?

Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, and other than the annoyance of the time change, it could bring some possible hits to your health, from headaches to your well-being.

Even though we gain an extra hour with this fall time change, it can still affect your sleep, especially for people who experience cluster headaches or migraines. It doesn’t take much to throw off your circadian rhythm, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, so the time change as well as the change of season can potentially trigger a cycle of cluster headaches. This type of headache can last for weeks and is usually very painful in or around one eye on one side of the head. What’s the connection? The part of the brain that generates these types of headaches – located in the hypothalamus – is the same part that manages our circadian rhythm.

In addition to cluster headaches, people who experience migraines regularly may also be triggered by sleep changes or sleep deprivation. The good news is that sleep and time changes won’t affect everyone, but some people are more sensitive to it. In fact, some even experience issues when changing time zones.

Also this time of year, as we start to see shorter days with less sunlight, some people experience seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression. Most people with this disorder experience symptoms like low energy, oversleeping, appetite changes and weight gain starting in the fall and through the winter months. If you notice a shift in your mental health that’s affecting your day-to-day life, talk with a healthcare provider.

If you tend to have issues with these types of headaches, the best thing you can do is mark your calendar and be prepared for the upcoming time change. If you take medication for headaches, have it ready to go. You may want to adjust your schedule to make sure your sleep pattern is consistent, or leave some extra time in the morning for outside exercise and more sunlight, both of which are beneficial.