The effects of changing the time one hour ahead
POSTED: Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 2:36pm
UPDATED: Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 2:38pm
(El Paso) KTSM — I am certainly feeling the effects of sleeping one hour less today.
I couldn't fully accept the idea I was losing one hour of sleep this morning.
I don't consider myself having sleep insomnia, but I don't always go to sleep right away.
And one study shows that for those people with the same issue, lose more sleep than just one hour during Daylight Saving Time, or DTS.
If any one is wondering as to why even go through the headache of switching our clocks one hour ahead in March, to only switch them back a couple of months later, read Chuck's weather blog!
He did a great job helping us (or should I say me) accept the fact that this silly invention has a deeper purpose than just messing with my sleeping habits. http://www.ktsm.com/weather/weather-talk/why-do-we-have-daylight-saving-time
According to Yvonne Harrison, a sleep specialist at Liverpool John Moores University, she says there is a big difference between sleeping well and sleeping efficiently.
I am sure we can all relate to those long nights when we go to bed, but can't fall asleep right away, and when we manage to sleep, we have to wake up a few hours later.
Sleep scientists would call this sleeping inefficiently.
Sleep efficiency is defined as the ratio of time we spend actually sleeping, to the total amount of time we spend in bed (presumably trying to sleep).
In general, according to research, sleep efficiency goes downhill after the switch to daylight saving time for as much as a week or more.
In one 2006 study, efficiency was reduced by 10 percent on average over the five days after the shift, with sleep time reduced by almost exactly one hour per night.
Other studies show that this shift is especially difficult to get used to by our "Night Owls."
Now for those teachers out there listen up!
A 2009 study in the journal Sleep Medicine, conducted a study on the effects of the time switch and came up with the result that kids were sleepier than usual during the day for three weeks after the time change.
So scientifically speaking, this should mean no tests or homework for students for the next couple of weeks until the time change is flushed out of our systems!
If only this excuse could work on our bosses and convince them to give us all a three week vacation until we adjust to this time change.
Now, for everyone who has to commute to work or school this one is important!
Because we are still mentally trying to adjust to this new time switch, there are more accidents out on the road the few days after DST takes place.
Drivers are apt to be sleepier than usual, and that makes accidents more likely.
For those who didn't know driving while sleepy is no different from driving while drunk.
And this goes for anyone at any time of the year. If you are extremely exhausted, or over worked, it is better to have someone take you home or where ever you need to go than try to do this your self.
Heart attacks increase the Monday after DST.
There are several reasons as to why this happens.
Some scientists say our cells have their own clocks and expect certain things to happen at certain times.
Unfortunately, when we set our clocks ahead an hour, no one bothers to inform our cells to do the same.
So they will gradually adjust, but until they get used to the switch, they can be caught off guard and react poorly to stresses they may ordinarily cope with just fine.
So I think I will write Benjamin Franklin a letter to explain why I hate losing an hour of sleep every March and how this could lead to my demise.
Maybe I am over reacting just a little bit, but I don't think Ben thought about all the mental and physical stresses it would cause on the body when he proposed DST!