Mind & Body
Combating the Sleepy Effects of Daylight Saving Time
3/7/2018 3:39:53 PM
Daylight Savings

Time giveth, and time taketh away. Perhaps that’s not exactly how the line goes, but nevertheless, an hour is taken away each spring with daylight saving time. 

Clocks move ahead one hour and many Americans are bleary-eyed for days.

"It’s not all in our heads,” explained Philip Conner, MD, board certified sleep specialist and medical director of the Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana. "Moving clocks in either direction changes the principle time cue, which is light. In the spring, we’ll get more light in the evenings, but we give up light in the morning, making it more difficult to wake up.”  Dr. Conner says it affects our internal clock.

It can be more difficult to adjust to losing the hour during spring than it is to gain an hour in the fall. 

The good news is that it’s easier for people who get regular sleep to adjust quickly to daylight saving time. "If you’re used to getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, your body will adapt easily,” he said. "You might be a little more tired at first, but it won’t take much time until you’re adjusted. However, it’s more difficult for those who have sleep troubles. If you only get about six or fewer hours of sleep each night, you might notice difficulties.”  

Dr. Conner said these troubles usually include lack of concentration, feeling sluggish and sleepy during the daytime, and decreased motivation.

To bounce back as quickly as possible, he advises using that time cue of light. Expose yourself to light as much as possible during the day. Open curtains and blinds and spend time outside for a few minutes each day. In the evening, close the curtains, even though it’s light outside, turn off overhead lights and use fewer lamps an hour before bedtime. Put away electronic gadgets, such as your phone or tablet computer, because your mind may have trouble settling down. Some phones or tablets offer a night version of brightness that decreases the blue light emitted as it can interfere with the brain’s ability to fall asleep; opt for this version a few hours before bedtime. 

"These tips work well for children and adolescents, too. We’re all affected by time change, no matter what age,” said Dr. Conner. 

For more information about adjusting to the time change, call the Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana at 310-REST. 
Posted by: Christine Fisher | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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