Most, if not all of us are looking forward to moving our clocks forward one hour this weekend for Daylight Saving Time (DST). While it means we're one step closer to spring, "springing ahead" also means losing an hour of sleep. And that can affect your body.
Doylestown Health sleep expert Les Szekeley, MD notes the spring time change can be a little trickier to adjust to than the fall, when we gain an hour of sleep.
"Advancing our clocks by one hour generally results in loss of an hour of sleep and is more difficult to adjust to than gaining an hour in the fall," says Dr. Szekely.
Most will be a little sleepier than usual on Monday, and it may take a few days for your body to adjust to the time change. According to research, the lack of sleep and resulting decrease in performance has been shown to increase the risk for vehicle accidents.
"Drive carefully the next couple days as you may be a bit more tired," advises Dr. Szekely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the reason for this is the disruption to circadian rhythms and sleep. Circadian rhythms are daily cycles of hormones and other body functions that prepare us for the expected times for sleeping, eating, and activity. Circadian rhythms have a hard time adjusting to an abrupt one-hour time change.
But there are a few things you can try to stay at the top of your game and get a good night's sleep.
"Try going to bed a little earlier on Sunday," suggests Dr. Szekely. "Getting exposure to bright light the next morning may help your circadian rhythm adjust faster. In reality most will adjust in a day or two."
Tips to Cope with Daylight Saving Time
- Go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier for a few nights preceding DST.
- Change other daily routines to cue your body of the change, such as adjusting your dinnertime.
- Set your clocks ahead in the early evening on Saturday, and go to bed at your normal time.
- Reset your "body clock" by going outside early Sunday morning to get some sunlight.
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About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 232 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.