Wyo4News Staff, [email protected]
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (March 16, 2021) — You were already behind an hour when you woke up on Sunday. You made it through Monday, but you’re still dragging. Now what?
It’s not unusual to continue to feel sluggish days after moving into daylight saving time, said Crystal Hamblin, Cardiopulmonary Director at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.
“Most people realize they need to get plenty of sleep leading up to the time change,” she said. “What some may not realize is it’s important to be cautious for up to seven days following the time change. Your sleep/wake patterns have been disrupted. It could cause adverse effects, particularly for those who already aren’t getting enough sleep.”
Here are more tips from Hamblin and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM):
- Head outdoors. As soon as the sun is shining, take it in. Exposure to morning sunlight will help regulate your internal clock.
- Obtain at least seven hours of sleep per night (adults) or 8 hours (for teens) before and after daylight saving time. However, having healthy sleep patterns is important all of the time.
- When this rolls around next year, be prepared. Gradually adjust sleep and wake times beginning two to three days before the time change. Shift your bedtime 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night for a few nights before the time change.
Not everyone reacts the same to the spring time change, said Hamblin, who also is director of Sweetwater Sleep Center at MHSC.
“This year might be an easier adjustment because many people may be working from home,” she said. “People may have more flexible schedules and can find it easier to adjust to the time change without the added stress of a commute.
“Children, who typically don’t adjust well to sleep disruptions, may be attending a virtual classroom and won’t experience the usual hassle to get out the door in the morning.”
Many don’t have these options and will still experience the negative effects of a lost hour of sleep.
“Your internal clock has been disrupted,” Hamblin said. “That’s a big deal. Research shows this disruption can have dangerous consequences, including an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, medical issues, cardiovascular events and mood disturbances.”
A survey completed by the AASM reported that 55% of Americans report feeling tired after the time change. Two new studies suggest that the spring daylight saving time transition raises health and safety risks. One study found fatal traffic accident risk increased by 6% and was highest in the morning.
Another study found an increase in hospital admissions due to atrial fibrillation following the spring transition to daylight saving time. When separated by gender, this finding persisted only among women. In contrast, no significant differences in atrial fibrillation admission rate were found following the autumn transition to standard time.
“Studies consistently show that the spring transition to daylight saving time is associated with negative consequences for health, safety, and productivity, all of which may be related to sleep disruption caused by the time change,” according to Dr. Kelly Carden, AASM President.