On Sunday morning, the US turned its clocks back one hour in observance of daylight saving time.
The shift means the sun will rise earlier in the morning, and set sooner in the evening.
And while we feel we now have an ‘extra hour’ in the morning, many of us will likely be struggling to fall asleep for the next week as we adjust our sleep schedules.
We reveal why you feel so groggy when you ‘fall back’, the other health risks daylight saving could have and some tips you can follow to make the time change easier.
Although we may feel like we have an ‘extra hour’ in the morning due to Daylight Saving Time, many of us will likely be struggling to fall asleep for the next week as we adjust our sleep schedules (file image)
DAYLIGHTS SAVINGS AFFECTS OUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
Our daily (circadian) clocks are linked to the light–dark cycle, or how many hours of day and night there are.
They allow us to anticipate and prepare for precise and regular environmental changes such as when to eat and sleep.
Found throughout the nervous system and peripheral organs, these ‘clock genes’ play a role in DNA repair, fertility, the effectiveness of medication, body temperature, brain activity and hormone production.
If your body doesn’t receive these signals, however, your circadian rhythm can be completely thrown off.
You might not think that setting the clock back an hour has much of an effect, but this is not the case.
Just like with jet lag, your body takes about a week to adjust to the new sleep-wake cycle, which is why you feel tired and groggy.
Disruptions in sleep schedule and not getting the recommended eight hours every night, can increase feelings of anxiety and irritability.
WHAT OTHER IMPACTS DOES DAYLIGHT SAVINGS HAVE?
It may not be the ‘fall back’ that affects you so much as the ‘spring froward’, researchers say.
Dr Amneet Sandhu, a then-cardiology fellow at the University of Colorado in Denver who led the study, says this may be due to the inherent changed in the sleep-wake cycle.
However, in the fall, when we turn the clocks back, the risk of heart attacks decreased by 21 percent.
A study from the University of Connecticut also found that there was a 45 percent increase between 5pm and 6pm after daylight saving time ends, reported
This is likely due to people adjusting their sleep schedules because of the time change likely due to lack of sleep and from it being darker earlier.
HOW CAN YOU ADJUST?
You may struggle to fall asleep an hour earlier when we turn our clocks back.
One recommendation sleep experts make is to adjust to the time change gradually rather than all at once.
‘Slowly shift your bedtime by 15 minutes each night. This will allow your body to naturally adjust when the clocks turn back,’ Dr Beth Donaldson, a family physician at Copeman Healthcare Centres in Vancouver, Canada, told
This means, if you go to bed 15 minutes early tonight, then go to bed 30 minutes early tomorrow a night, and so on until you’ve adjusted.
Then once, you’ve adjusted to your new schedule, make sure you stick to it – even on your days off.
Dr Donaldson told Healthline that if you stay up later and fill your ‘extra hour’ with activities – this could significantly affect your sleep-wake cycle.