Kaiser Permanente sleep expert offers simple advice on coping with initial loss of sleep as we reset our clocks.
PASADENA, Calif. — As daylight saving time begins, many of us will welcome the opportunity to spend more time outdoors with one extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. But the time change also means we lose one hour of precious sleep.
Numerous studies show that one-third of Americans are sleep deprived and weekend sleep can’t quite make up for our reduced sleep time during the work week. Basically, if you’re already somewhat sleep-deprived, giving up just one hour of shut-eye can negatively impact how you feel and function during the day. It’s as if you are experiencing a mild case of jet lag.
Kendra Becker, MD, a sleep medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center in California, says preparing your body for the time change helps you cope better. The effects on your sleep cycle could have dangerous consequences unless you take certain steps to minimize the impact.
“This temporary loss of sleep can increase your tiredness, worsen your performance of tasks, and studies have shown it could also increase your risk of heart attacks and car accidents,” Dr. Becker cautioned. “Children affected by sleep deprivation also have a harder time in school and potentially worsened behavior.”
Dr. Becker recommends doing the following to help you minimize the potential negative effects of the time change on your health:
“Losing an hour of sleep may be challenging for many in the beginning, but it doesn’t have to be hard,” Dr. Becker said. “It’s all about embracing the change and taking steps to minimize the impact. After all, the time change will take place whether we want it to or not, so from a health standpoint, we need to adjust and embrace it.”
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