Genetic Secrets of Springing Forward

How Daylight Savings Time Impacts Health and Diet

As the clocks sprung forward during the recent transition into Daylight Savings Time (DST) this past Sunday, many of us find ourselves facing more than just a simple adjustment in time. While the benefits of DST are debated, its impact on our health, particularly our sleep patterns and dietary habits, cannot be overlooked. At Fagron Genomics US, we delve into how genetic factors intersect with the effects of DST, shedding light on why you may experience unique food cravings and disruptions to your overall well-being during this seasonal shift.

Genetic Influence on Circadian Rhythms: Navigating the Change

Our bodies operate on intricate biological clocks known as circadian rhythms, regulated by a complex interplay of genes. Initially, it was believed that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) was the sole mammalian tissue capable of generating circadian rhythms. However, pioneering studies by Tosini and Menaker demonstrated that cultured retinas also secrete melatonin, the “night hormone,” in a circadian fashion, a role traditionally attributed to the pineal gland [1]. These genetic variations can influence how individuals respond to disruptions in their circadian rhythms, such as those induced by the shift in daylight hours associated with DST.

Hormonal Changes and Appetite Regulation

Central to understanding the impact of DST on dietary habits are the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play crucial roles in appetite regulation [2]. Disruptions in sleep patterns, such as those experienced during DST transitions, can lead to dysregulation in ghrelin and leptin levels, contributing to heightened hunger and cravings for calorie-dense, high-fat foods.

Leveraging Genetic Insights for Personalized Solutions

At Fagron Genomics US, we recognize the importance of personalized healthcare solutions tailored to individual genetic predispositions. By leveraging genetic testing technologies, healthcare providers can identify genetic variations that may predispose individuals to heightened sensitivity to DST-induced disruptions in circadian rhythms and appetite regulation.
Armed with this knowledge, providers can offer targeted interventions aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of DST on health and dietary habits. Strategies may include implementing gradual adjustments to sleep schedules leading up to DST transitions, incorporating strategic napping practices, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining a nutrient-dense diet during periods of heightened hunger.
While the transition into DST may present challenges to our health and dietary routines, it also serves as an opportunity to embrace a holistic approach to wellness. By integrating genetic insights into our understanding of how DST affects health and diet, individuals can navigate seasonal transitions with greater resilience and minimize the impact on their overall well-being.
1. Bollinger, T., & Schibler, U. (2014b). Circadian rhythms – from genes to physiology and disease. Swiss Medical Weekly.
2. Klok, M. D., Jakobsdottir, S., & Drent, M. L. (2006). The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: A Review. Obesity Reviews, 8(1), 21–34.