Next Sunday, October 25, the winter time change will take place, so that at dawn on Saturday 24 the clocks will be delayed one hour and at 03.00 they will return to 02.00.

How does the time change affect our health? These are the main symptoms and how to avoid them

As a consequence of this alteration, many people may experience symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, irritability, or poor concentration. This is mainly due to the fact that the time change influences the circadian rhythms that the body regulates through the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for facilitating sleep.

In this sense, “circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle and that respond mainly to light and dark in the environment”, explain from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences de EE.UU.

The main factor influencing circadian rhythms is daylight, which can “turn on and off the genes that control the molecular structure of biological clocks.” So, can influence sleep-wake cycles by “helping to determine our sleep patterns“.

What are the effects it can cause in newborns?

The time change tends to affect the child population and the elderly to a greater extent as they are more sensitive to these types of alterations. “The internal central clock regulates a daily cycle that affects the levels of hormones and our entire body”, so when a modification of this rhythm occurs “it can become disoriented and that is what happens with time changes”, explained in the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP).

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In the case of newborns, this internal central clock “is operative from five or six months of age and breastfeeding is its best ally “, since mother’s milk contains more melatonin during the night.

However, babies may experience various symptoms associated with the time change until the adjustment process is complete, which usually lasts three to seven days. These symptoms, according to the AEP, can be the following:

  • Appetite disorders.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or ending sleep.
  • Small changes in the cardiovascular rhythm.

How can they be prevented?

Generally, children who follow hourly habits of eating, physical activity or going out to the street tend to adapt more easily to the time change. In any case, if the symptoms persist for longer than usual, it is advisable to go to health professionals in case there is another cause.

In order to prevent these alterations, Pediatric experts recommend progressive adaptation, that is, to advance the activities a week before “so that the transition is smoother”. Other guidelines that can be followed are:

  • Illuminate the room with natural light when lifting them.
  • Routinely eating a good breakfast in a bright room.
  • Walk them to nursery “to boost serotonin.”
  • Avoid exposure to screens.
  • Make sure the night light in the room is warm.