RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Most Americans set their clocks one hour ahead (2 a.m. is the official time for the jump) on Saturday, leaving Standard Time behind 'till next November. For some people, the switch to daylight saving time (DST) can trigger days or even weeks of sleeping problems. Parents complain that the lighter evenings make it harder to get the kids to bed. And studies even show that the incidence of car accidents and heart attacks spikes after the spring forward.
THE DETAILS: For many of us the time change is a nuisance at most, but some people experience more serious problems, says J. Todd Arnedt, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology, and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, at the University of Michigan. “We suspect that some folks may have more of a sensitive sleep system than others and are more vulnerable to perturbations like the time change, and it’s more challenging for them to recover,” he says. These sensitive sleepers may have trouble getting enough sleep for days or weeks after the clocks move forward, he says.
WHAT IT MEANS: If turning the clocks forward tends to throw your inner timekeeper out of whack, you can take steps to help your body make an easier transition to DST. And since insomnia and other sleep problems are all too common these days, anyone who’d like to get better sleep can also benefit from these suggestions.