Have you ever wondered what daylight saving time could do to you and your body? Daylight savings time is ending this Sunday. It is when the sun goes down earlier and the days at the end of the year are shorter. Set the alarm clock one hour back. While this means one more hour of sleep, it can surprisingly take a toll on health.
An hour of sleep can be welcoming for many people, but it can disrupt sleeping patterns which put a strain on the body. Change in sleeping schedule can throw off the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Sleep is an important health factor that needs to be consistent.
“It is great to have the extra hour of sleep, but a few days later, that can lead to worse sleep. It can lead to insomnia or sleepiness. A lot of the nation has been up for the World Series; we are more sleep deprived than normal. Adding daylight savings time can make the situation worse.”
In the winter months, people spend more waking hours in the dark, which can lead to an increasing risk of developing seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It is more than just the winter blues; it’s a form of depression that can be difficult to deal with in the winter months and that needs to be watched out for. Symptoms of SAD include fatigue, sleep difficulty or excessive sleeping, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or despair, and thoughts of suicide.
The end of daylight saving time also presents hazards for drivers who will be spending more time on the road when the sun is down. The National Highway Safety Administration has cautioned, “Motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier.”
Dr. Samuel Friedlander, assistant clinical professor of Sleep Medicine and Allergy-Immunology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, said,
Though the change is coming soon, one way to help acclimate is to get on a good sleep schedule before the time change.
“Try to start out having good sleep habits and get enough rest so your body can acclimate better,” Dr. Friedlander stated.