Remember to "fall back" and set your clocks back an hour tonight.
It’s that time of year again when we have to remember to reset all
of our clocks to “fall back” for Daylight Saving Time. Since
a federal law was enacted in America in 1966, residents in most states
have adjusted their clocks twice a year. But our bodies also have to make
an adjustment to the time change, and some research says it can affect
“There have been many studies that have reported on the health problems
that a lack of sleep can cause, such as a greater risk of obesity, cardiovascular
disease and depression,” says
Paul M. Laband, MD, an internal medicine physician with
St.Joseph Health Medical Group in Napa. “Daylight Saving Time, especially when we ‘spring
forward’ an hour and lose some crucial rest, can interfere with
our body’s natural wake and sleep cycles.”
Dr. Laband adds that we should take advantage of the fall time change,
when we get back the hour of sleep we lose in spring.
“It can be a good time to play catch up if you haven’t been
getting the rest you need. Don’t stay up later knowing you’ll
get that extra hour with the time change—going to sleep at the usual
time will help your body’s sleep/wake cycle stay balanced.”
Besides, you may want to take advantage of the earlier hours of daylight.
“With nighttime coming earlier again, this season is the prime time
for seasonal affective disorder, which can cause symptoms of depression,
fatigue and weight gain,” Dr. Laband says. “Getting exposure
to light early in the day—and throughout the day, either by spending
time outdoors or using a light box device inside—can be a mood booster
and help with the adjustment to the time change.”
Establishing healthy sleep habits during this time is important because
it can help you transition in spring when Daylight Saving Time comes around again.
“Studies have shown the spring switchover can be detrimental—findings
include a higher number of heart attacks the Monday after the time change,
less productivity in the workplace and a possible upturn in cortisol,
the body’s so-called stress hormone,” Dr. Laband says.
“Whether it’s the fall or spring time change, it’s essential
to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night in order to help you—and
your body—function at its best.”
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.