One Less Hour of Sunlight A Pest to Night Owls

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Daylight savings time, a practice that dates back to 1883, was developed as a way to standardize time zones for the railway system. Since then the date on which we spring forward or fall back has shifted with the latest change in 2005, when Congress passed an energy bill which included extending Daylight Saving Time by about a month. As of 2007 DST starts the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Early Sunday morning most of the country will move their clocks one hour behind, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time. And although some Americans will enjoy a day with an extra hour to sleep, get errands done or even just spend quality family time, most night owls will suffer a disruption in their sleeping patters; one that can cause grave results.

* In an ideal world, gaining an extra hour in the day should allow for an extra hour of rest. However, many who habitually sleep later use the additional time to stay up  later causing them to be even more sleep deprived. An issue that can cause major issues when driving late at night. An alarming  spike in traffic accidents the night Daylight Savings ends was revealed during a 2003 study by researchers at Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities. They analyzed a 21-year period and found a significant spike in traffic accidents on the Sunday that ended daylight-saving time.

“The fundamental problem we have in our current 24/7 society is that everyone is already somewhat sleep deprived,” says Patrick J. Strollo Jr., M.D., medical director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Sleep Disorder Program. “When we make even small adjustments in sleep schedules, that can have a negative impact.”

* The additional hour of darkness can lead to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as ‘Winter Depression’ or ‘Winter Blues’. The lack of sunlight and weather changes can bring on depression so sever some have complained of inexplicable anxiety attacks and contemplating suicide.

* Children are also greatly effected by the time change and an additional hour in the day may be notably disruptive causing a sort of Daylight Saving “jet lag”. It may take a few days for a child’s sleep pattern to adjust to a new time.

Here are a few easy way to easy away another hour in the day.

  • Get to bed! Make sure you turn out the lights at your regularly scheduled bed time. Take advantage of sleeping in later. Do what it takes to get your body accustomed to the new time.
  • Make it an easy day. On Sunday, adjusting to the additional hour will be easier if you are prepared. Schedule an hour in the day to enjoy a book, watch a TV show or just hand out with family/friends. An easy way to easy away another hour in the day.
  • Expend some energy. A great way to get a great nights sleep is the exhaust yourself. So schedule an hour at the gym, or take the kids out to play in the park. Get physical to get your body back on a timely track.

So what do  you do at the end of Daylight Savings Time. Are you thrilled to have an extra hour in the day or are you still feeling “jet laged?”

Let me know…

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