Saturday, February 28, 2009

Begin to Spring Forward Before the March 8 Change to Daylight Saving Time

Are you planning ahead for the change to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 8? You should.

Sleep experts advise you to go to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier each night before the time change. This will give your body time to adjust.

You may be thinking, “It’s only an hour. What’s the big deal?”

Well, the one-hour time change may affect you more than you realize. Consider these research findings:

New England Journal of Medicine: Heart attacks are significantly increased for the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in the spring. The authors suggest that the best explanation for this risk is that the time change causes sleep deprivation.

BMC Physiology: The transition in and out of daylight saving time disrupts sleep and enhances restlessness. Springing forward by an hour is more disruptive for people who are “evening types” or “night owls.” These people have a hard time falling asleep when they go to bed early. So they may be unable to compensate for the time change. As a result they may go to bed even later than normal. This can deprive them of much-needed sleep.

Current Biology: The timing of sleep on free days naturally follows the seasonal progression of dawn under standard time. The human circadian system does not adjust to daylight saving time.

Neuroscience Letters: The transition to daylight saving time reduces both sleep efficiency and sleep duration. Sleep efficiency is the percentage of time in bed that you spend sleeping.

So maybe you should ease into daylight saving time this year. Learn more from the AASM about Planning Ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

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