Daylight Savings = Sleep Debt

When our circadian rhythms are disrupted by setting the clock forward or traveling east, our bodies don’t have time to adjust.  Your old bedtime of 10:00 PM is now 11:00 PM; the effect is that you are going to be “earlier.” Your biological clock becomes confused which may make it difficult for you to get to sleep.  Sleeplessness and insomnia may ensue for days or weeks in some people.

There are a few things you can try to ease the adjustment.  Initially you can go to bed at 11:00 PM.  This is your old bedtime corrected for daylight savings time.  Adjust your bedtime by 5 minutes earlier each night until you have made the hour correction.  You will spend less time waiting to fall asleep this way.

You can try melatonin, in humans it directs the body to prepare for sleep.  It can help shift the phase of your biological clock. Taking it at night causes a phase-advance.  Earlier to bed and earlier to rise.

Michael McClay PhD

Susan Gordon PT

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