Daylight Saving Time Could Cause Sleep Problems

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

April 2, 2006

Some people may have been dragging today, but not necessarily because it's Monday. Chances are it could've had something to do with Daylight Saving Time. For many people, sleeping habits can easily adjust to the hour change, but for others, it's not quite as simple to catch some Zs.

It's that time of year to spring forward again. But for some people, it may not be that easy.

"It takes a little getting used to," said Charlotte Wilcox, whose adjusting to the change.

"Getting up earlier is not what everyone wants to do," added Kim Beard.

The hour change can not only effect how you wake up, it may at first make it difficult to fall asleep.

"If their typical bedtime is 11, they're getting to bed at 11, but it may not be until 12 o'clock that they actually fall asleep, and then their awake time is adjusted an hour," said director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center, Dr. Chris Winter.

Dr. Winter says spring Daylight Saving Time is harder to adjust to than fall because the body has a bit more ability to stay awake for an extra hour. While it is just an hour, it could still cause problems.

"A lot of people who are prone to insomnia can have difficulties, cause they're getting in bed and they're having a frustrating time trying to get to sleep," said Dr. Winter.

Also when your eyes see sunlight, it tells your body to stay awake.

So now that there's more of it closer to nighttime, that too can impact sleeping habits, leaving some feeling a bit more tired, perhaps even lacking concentration throughout the day.

"It should be noted that it's now 1 o'clock and I'm now going to get lunch. So, I'm not quite right," said Beard.

But for others, more daylights hours can only be a good thing.

"I think it's just making me feel like vacation is just around the corner, so I'm getting pretty excited," said Mark Keller, whose been enjoying the daytime hours.

"Even going to sleep last night, it was right by the clock, so it was not a problem," added Vito Cetta.

Dr. Winter says that for every hour of change, it takes about 24 hours to adjust. So for the most part, hopefully body clocks should be normal by tonight.

Experts also add that if time changes really affect your sleeping habits, a few days before Daylight Savings Time, you should try changing your sleeping habits yourself to make that adjustment a little more smooth.

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