News Stories

What a Difference an Hour Can Make

...as we'll find out what Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday - It may only be a single hour of lost time, but "springing forward" for Daylight Saving Time, as we will do on Sunday, March 8, can pack a punch for some people. Many experience sleepiness, mood changes and sleep disturbances as they attempt to adjust to the time change.

In addition to sleepiness and mood changes, such as irritability, people often have more difficulty performing at work and are at greater risk for accidents while driving. Studies have shown, for example, that there is an increase in the number of car crashes on the Monday following the time change relative to the Monday before. New research has also linked a higher rate of heart attacks to Daylight Saving Time, which may be related to the associated sleep deprivation. A lot of this can be prevented if people make a few simple changes.

Children naturally need more sleep than adults and may actually be more sensitive to the effects of sleep deprivation. After missing an hour of sleep, due to turning the clock ahead, adults experience sleepy behaviors the next day and physically slow down. Children, on the other hand, may do the opposite and experience more inattention and hyperactivity. This can make for some tough family relations!

There are a variety of things that people can do to minimize the effects of that lost hour of sleep. One can consider taking a nap during the day preceding the time change, but it?s important that the nap is brief and not too close to bedtime. People also can gradually adjust their sleep and wake schedules, going to bed and getting up 15-20 minutes earlier, for the 4-5 days preceding the time change so that their bodies are adjusted to the new time once it is adopted. In some cases, a short trial of pill form melatonin may be used around the time change to help adjust the internal clock.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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