Does the daylight savings time change have you feeling sleepy this week? There might be a solid reason behind this. Sleep researcher at the University of Manitoba, Diane McMillan is claiming that the clocks ‘springing’ forward one hour can actually be a major set-back for everyone in terms of sleep.
“In part, I think it’s because we’re generally really sleep deprived,” said McMillan.
While we may think that the extra hour does not make a significant difference, according to McMillian, the change in clocks causes people to lose about 40 minutes of sleep. As an average adult requires at least seven to nine hours of shut eye per night, this can really add to someone’s sleep deprivation if they are not getting enough rest as it is.
Less sleep means feeling tired, fatigued, and potentially rushed in the morning; especially if you have hit that snooze button one too many times. It also affects reaction and alertness, which can have a negative effect when operating a motorized vehicle. According to the sleep researchers at the University of British Columbia, this can cause a five to seven percent increase in motor collisions following the three days after a time change. It can also affect your heart too. In 2011, sleep scientists at University of Alabama at Birmingham published a study which indicated that there was a 10 per cent increase in the risk of heart attacks within two days after spring daylight savings time; alternatively they see a 10 per cent decline in heart-attack risk in the fall, when North America gets that extra hour when we ‘fall back’ in our daylight savings time switch.
Experts advise trying to get to bed a little earlier the day before, and during the week of the time switch; and if you are feeling sleepy during the day, try a 20-minute cat nap. Try not to sleep too long, McMillan warns, as a long nap might affect your evening bedtime routine.
For those who may have issues getting to bed with the new time difference, McMillian advises that the best way to wind down is a little fitness, and avoiding screen time right before bed.