CLEVELAND (WJW) — At 2 a.m. Sunday, we’ll all set our clocks an hour ahead as part of Daylight Saving Time.
While we’ll get an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, we’ll also miss out on an hour of sleep. And doctors say that can throw our bodies off. It can even be dangerous.
“With spring forward, we’re going to essentially be losing an hour,” said Dr. Michelle Drerup, director of Behavior Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. “That’s more detrimental to our society because we tend to be sleep-deprived. So it’s adding on to potentially already sleep debt that is there.”
She said there have been studies linking the loss of sleep to higher rates of heart attacks and car accidents the Monday after Daylight Saving Time.
“In terms of how it affects most people, they usually feel very sleepy or tired starting the work week out if they’re not adjusting before or trying to prioritize sleep during this time,” she said. “It’s not by chance that National Napping Day is the Monday after Daylight Saving Time.”
Drerup and the Cleveland Clinic, however, have four tips to combatting the effects.
1.) Prepare early: A few days before springing ahead, start going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than normal to help prepare your body for losing the hour of sleep.
2.) Stay on schedule: Make sure to be consistent with eating, socializing, bed and exercise times while adjusting to the change. Bright light in the morning helps with the adjustment.
3.) Don’t take long naps: Daytime naps could make it harder to fall asleep at night during the transition. Try to keep naps to 20 minutes or less, and take them earlier in the day.
4.) Avoid coffee and alcohol: Do not consume coffee and caffeine four to six hours before bed. Also avoid alcohol, which affects the quality of sleep.