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Preparing to spring forward

Preparing to spring forward

The return trip to Central Daylight Time on March 13 may take “a bit getting used to.”

However, there are ways to try combatting time change, according to Dr. Michael Breus, The Sleep Doctor™, a clinical psychologist and Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine.

“A little preparation in the days leading up to daylight savings time can make the transition easier by moving up bedtime by 15 minutes to 30 minutes at least two days prior to the time change and waking up 15 minutes earlier to make it easier for the body to adjust to the new schedule,” he says.

Some research shows that the annual time change not only causes workplace fatigue and lower productivity, but is linked to a higher rate of workplace and school accidents.

The move to daylight savings time is an artificial adjustment for reasons related to the economy and energy conservation. However, moving the clocks forward so early in the year means more morning darkness – at least until the season catches up.

“Our bodies are more adjusted to standard time than to daylight savings time, because standard time aligns more with the sunrise-to-dawn cycle, which is in tune with our biological, circadian rhythms,” says sleep expert Dr. Muhammad Hamadeh, medical director of the sleep disorders center at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “The one-hour ‘spring forward’ to daylight savings time in March is tougher on our internal clocks than the one-hour ‘fall back’ to standard time in November.”

Dr. Hamadeh says that the hour loss of sleep when we move the clocks forward results in a period of readjustment of our internal clocks that can take anywhere from a few days to as much as a couple weeks, depending on one’s individual genetic makeup, age  and daily habits.

Interruptions to a person’s circadian rhythm – even minor ones like the twice-a-year clock change – can temporarily impact complex biochemical reactions in the brain, he says, including the cyclical role of hormones that affect a person’s alertness and sleepiness.

Remember to change your clocks an hour forward this Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 a.m.

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