Since the clocks went back

Hi Guys,

Has anyone noticed a marked increase in their symptoms since the clocks went back?

This happened to me last year as well. I have without a doubt, been about 60% worse since the clocks went back.

I think it’s because theres less natural day light pouring in through my window at work, I’m having to use more artificial light.

It’s driving me crazy.

I had the worse classical migraine I’ve had in 15 years of this pain Friday. It’s just started to go but it’s been replaced by dizziness.

I thought I was getting to 90% with Clonidine and now it’s all taken away from me again when winter comes.


I always get worse this time of year and will struggle for the next 6 months or so. I thought it was from the colder weather, but I’d never considered the light issue. You might be onto something there.

Yes - I thought it was because I was over-exercising (I’m new to all this so just learning my triggers), but I am very sensitive to artificial light, so this may be the reason for my recent increase in dizziness too.

My first symptoms started a year ago just after the clocks went back and have been a bit worse again these last two weeks. For me I think one of the worst things is driving in the dark, which happens when coming home from work after the clocks change. I particularly find car headlights and brake lights dazzling and tending to set off my headache/dizziness, much less of a problem when the days are longer.

I also find I generally feel better if I can spend as much time as possible being active outdoors in daylight (and preferably sunshine!) and that naturally decreases during the winter.

I have been getting worse. I thought it was just the weather getting colder or stress but honestly not really sure why. I tend to due worse when its colder.

I wrote this in response to someone asking about reading at bed time. I wrote it under my older username, before I had to change my email address. I’ll explain why I think this pertains to time changes and sleeping cycles:

"It would make sense that reading an iphone/computer/kindle before bed might worsen things, but not for the reason you might think. There’s a reason that our bodies work as they do, getting tired in the evening and more alert in the morning, and it’s not just because we’ve spent a day expending energy.

When light hits our eyes, it sends a signal to the brain to stop producing melatonin—the natural chemical that makes you sleepy. Naturally, as the sun goes down, and we’re exposed to less light, our brains will naturally begin the production of melatonin, preparing the body for rest, making one tired. But when we interrupt that process by adding too much bright, artificial lighting before going to sleep, we interrupt the process, setting the brain back into a more alert state, which is not what one desires before bed. This interruption disrupts sleep cycles, therefore setting up a horrible process in which you get restless, poor sleep.

Having said that: by taking away the artificial lighting, you’re allowing your body to produce melatonin, therefore preparing the brain for restful sleep. With MAV, sleep is important, so getting better sleep could explain why you’re feeling better. On a good note, if this is the cause of your improvement, reading an actual book (paper book), will not interrupt your sleep, nor impede on melatonin production. If anything, reading will relax you. But stay away from screens late at night.

Hope this helps."

Now, as for what this has to do with your question: when we go through a time change—particularly in fall, and throughout winter, when days become shorter—our Circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) gets thrown wildly out of whack, especially if nothing’s done to counteract it. As for why this happens: as I described above, sunlight has everything to do with our sleep cycles. In summer, when the sun rises before most of us wake, we wake to natural light, and the brain receives the signal through the eyes to stop producing melatonin and start producing the many chemicals that create a wakeful feeling. But when the time changes, and we rise to darkness, the brain doesn’t exactly know what to do because the eye isn’t taking in natural light. Now you have a problem, and poor sleep is at the root of it all. This disrupts the entire sleep cycle, leading to prolonged fatigue throughout the day and restless sleep at night. This, I assume, can greatly contribute to MAV. The question is, what can be done to counteract this problem?

Many people have found relief by using light therapy. You can find light therapy devices on Amazon, but they’re a little pricey, and they require that you sit in front of the light for a sustained amount of time each morning; not very feasible for everyone, and it killed my eyes. Just too bright. What I use, and what I’d recommend (and no, I don’t work for the company; I’ve just have a lot of troubles with my sleep cycle) is a wake up light. I use one made by Phillips, called the wake up light. It’s an alarm clock that simulates sunrise. Many people—particularly those living in areas where sunlight is scarce—have found them very helpful.

I hope this helps.

Guinevere, another factoid about circadian rhythms (& blues) is that natural light shifts from more blue to more pink over the day. We’re conditioned to this. A cool-white e.g. LED reading light is most efficient, but also most wakening.

It’s a dreary, rainy day, I’ve a bit of a cold, and I’ve been very draggy. I just went to my sweetie’ desk and got the setup I prepared for her to use in the morning: a light with three lampholders in a row, holding the three brightest 5000K color temperature CFLs in the store. I have it shining over my shoulder. My eyes are open a lot wider now. (Yes, I have to block the light from the screen with my bod.)

Yes, I have been worse this last two weeks, today wasn’t good at all, dizzy, feeling sick, short vertigo lurch.


Yes, this is true. Many of the wake up lights use LED, some don’t, I believe. Mine is a cool white that gradually brightens as my desired wake up time nears. The light therapy box I bought had bright blue LED lights, but it was too extreme, and I took it back.

I used a Golite to try and help my sleep, but it ended up making me feel irritable.


I want to say I used the Go-lite, too. All I know is that it was so ridiculously bright that I couldn’t tolerate it. I think it would give anyone a headache. I use the Phillips wake up light. Far more pleasant, and not a bad way to wake up.

This is really interesting, personally I have found I am worse in the summer than the winter, I think it’s the light. Melatonin levels have been found to be linked to migraine. Melatonin regulates sleep and body levels are higher in winter than summer, there’s some interesting articles on the web, such as: … -migraines

I would hazard a guess that the changes in levels of natural light (meaning more artificial light) could cause migraine through big changes in Melatonin levels. It’s probably a good idea to make sure you get out at lunchtime for a bit and don’t have bright artificial lights on at home in the evening to allow your brain to naturally release Melatonin.