SLEEP LOSS: Adjusting To Time Change

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Daylight saving time began as a way to save money on electricity by giving us one extra hour of sunlight.  Turning the clock ahead means one less hour of sleep and experts say it takes most of us a little time to adjust.

“It’s nice to have the longer daylight hours, but harder to get up in the morning because it’s darker,” says Patsy Shors.

The darker mornings make it harder for some people to wake up.

“The problem is not the sleep loss .  It’s the speed at which the body’s clock readjusts to that mechanical alarm clock change,” says Dr. Steven Zorn, founder of Iowa Sleep.

Zorn says 20% of adults are sleep deprived.  They get less than the average seven hours of shut-eye a night.

“When you don’t get enough sleep or poor quality sleep, you don’t think too well,” he says.

“It takes a bit of an adjustment.  By tomorrow, I’ll be good again,” says Shors.

A recent study by the Better Sleep Council shows it takes 29% of adults a full week to get back to normal after “springing ahead”.   It often takes women even longer to adjust to daylight saving time.

“I have a feeling that there’s sleep deprivation going in and now you’re just adding another problem to it so they’re even worse,” says Zorn.

He recommends getting as much morning light as possible at the start of your day.  You can also take an over-the-counter dose of Melatonin which can help regulate your sleep cycle.   Zorn recommends taking half a milligram four hours before you go to bed.