Many people are looking forward to an extra hour of sleep this weekend when Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends. This is especially important when considering several studies show up to one-third of Americans are sleep-deprived.
What you may not realize, however, is that the end of DST may not necessarily result in an immediate improvement in your sleep pattern.
“It may be too much of an optimistic view to think that gaining one hour of sleep will have an immediate positive effect on your sleep behavior,” said Dr. Dennis Hwang at Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Sleep Center at Fontana Medical Center. “It’s not uncommon to still feel tired. The change of DST in either direction changes our circadian rhythm.”
The circadian rhythm is also known as a sleep-wake cycle that is a 24-hour internal control clock that regulates sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals, Dr. Hwang notes. The sudden time shift can disrupt the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle, hence disrupting sleep for several days until the body has a chance to naturally adjust.
But all is not lost! Though some sleep disruptions may occur with the time change, Dr. Hwang stresses the importance of maintaining your regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at your regular time. Aim for at least seven- to eight-hours of sleep the night before the end of DST and the days following. Eventually, the body’s internal clock will adjust on its own.
Fun Fact: DYK?
According to Web Exhibits, an interactive museum of science, humanities, and culture, DST was started more than 100 years ago. It was used in the U.S. and in many European countries since World War I in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. It was later adopted in the U.S. in 1918 as an act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States. DST has had some policy changes over the years, before settling on the reason that by shifting the clock, we make better use of natural daylight. #DYK