Sleep deprivation a real concern after daylight savings time switchDICKINSON, N.D. — One week of daylight saving time down, 33 weeks to go. That probably seems like a long time to wait for the return of a lost hour of sleep.
By: Betsy Simon, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
DICKINSON, N.D. — One week of daylight saving time down, 33 weeks to go. That probably seems like a long time to wait for the return of a lost hour of sleep.
By Monday afternoon following the time change last Sunday morning, some people, like Kim Kaiser with Essentia Health in Fargo, were lamenting that loss of 60 minutes of shut-eye. “I do know I feel more tired today,” she said.
“People can lose an average of 40 minutes of sleep during this time change,” said Karla Smith, St. Alexius Sleep Center coordinator. “This may cause a fatigue ripple effect for several days.”
The exact number of people who struggle to deal with the loss of one hour of sleep come spring is unknown, said Nikki Mills with Sanford Sleep Disorder Center. It is possible to gain back the sleep one loses, but it is crucial not to overcompensate.
“People can make up for their sleep debt by simply getting what their body needs and knowing what that is, usually between eight and 10 hours,” she said. “It’s OK to sleep a little extra when needed, but half a day of oversleeping is not encouraged because that can make people even groggier.”
Sleepiness is just one of several concerns associated with the sudden change in time.
“A number of studies indicate that springing ahead to daylight saving time may be hazardous to your health,” Smith said. “Although the one hour time change may seem minor, when it comes to your body’s internal clock, it actually is a big deal.”
The latest study in the March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology suggests turning clocks ahead for daylight saving time may set the stage for a small increased risk of heart attack the following day, Smith said.
“The findings published in the study showed a small rise in heart attack rates the Sunday following the shift to DST,” she said. “However, the study showed a small tick downward the Sunday following the change back to standard time, when you gain an hour. Given that heart attacks appear to increase following the shorter night, it is reasonable that sleep deprivation may be to blame.
“There are numerous studies showing the adverse health effects of sleep deprivation, but the studies involving one-hour time changes point to just how sensitive your body is to seemingly insignificant changes in your diurnal rhythms.”
Smith said time change can throw off “the body clock” because there is sleep loss due to the increased daylight.
“Ongoing effects of sleep loss can be in the form of hormone shifts,” she said. “For example, metabolic hormones like insulin could be affected, causing less insulin to be secreted, which in turn causes increased blood sugars. Heart attacks, car crashes and suicides all tick up after we spring ahead. The scientific research paints a disturbing picture of what the ‘extra’ hour of daylight may be costing us.”
To lessen the effects of sleep loss, Smith recommends that people get regular exercise, get into a sleep routine but avoid spending more time in bed than necessary, and create an environment conducive to sleeping.