When the clock strikes 2 a.m. this Sunday morning, Daylight Saving Time will come to an end as our clocks magically turn back an hour resulting in an extra hour of sleep.
That’s a good thing, right, especially for teens who like to sleep longer?
Maybe or maybe not.
So, what about our internal clock?
“The March Daylight Saving change typically results in less sleep from the hour lost and it is harder for the body’s circadian rhythms to adjust to a later time. However, when Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend, it is usually easier on our systems because we are gaining an extra hour,” said Dr. Karin Johnson, a sleep specialist in the Neurology Division at Baystate Medical Center, who serves as director of the Sleep Lab.
The body’s circadian rhythms are important for our ability to sleep at night and function well during the day, but are also important for our health.
But, no matter what direction you are moving the clock in, our circadian rhythm is disrupted, wrecking havoc in the day-night cycle for some.
“Usually a one-hour time difference doesn’t have a big effect on a person’s sleep habits, but for some it can be more difficult to adjust their biological clock, especially in a society where our busy lives result in so many people already being dangerously sleep deprived,” said Dr. Johnson.
“As a rule, especially for adults, a one-hour time change either way should not take more than one day for the body to adjust to the new time,” she added.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends to enjoy your extra hour of sleep that you get ready for bed at your normal bedtime on Saturday night. Just before turning off the lights, set all your clocks back an hour. Then, wake up at the usual time Sunday morning.
Baystate Medical Center’s Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine offer the following tips to minimize any disruption to your sleep cycle, whether during the switch to Daylight Saving Time in March or its end this weekend:
• Do not nap during the day. If you must snooze, limit the time to less than one hour and no later than 3 p.m.
• Adults and children should maintain a regular wake-up time, even on weekends.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, heavy meals, and exercising a few hours before bedtime.
• Stick to rituals that help you relax before going to bed. This can include such things as a warm bath, a light snack or a few minutes of reading.
• Don’t take your worries to bed. Bedtime is a time to relax, not to hash out the stresses of the day.
• If you can’t fall asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity. Return to bed only when you are tired.
• Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and a little cool.
Sleep deprivation can adversely affect an individual’s health and performance, as well as jeopardize their safety and the safety of others. A sleep-deprived person is likely to have less energy, difficulty concentrating, make poor decisions and increase errors. They may even fall asleep during work, in class, or while driving. Other effects of sleep deprivation include irritability, anxiety, and symptoms of depression, as well as such health risks as high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, and diabetes.
Baystate Medical Center’s Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center provides the latest high-technology testing and diagnosis for all types of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, snoring, and sleepwalking.
For more information about the Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center, visit baystatehealth.org/sleep.