We’ve got a pretty big weekend ahead of us here in Arkansas, and a lot of folks might have trouble getting some sleep. Maybe those spooky Halloween movies will keep you up at night, or perhaps you will be too restless to sleep thinking about the upcoming Razorbacks game. Or maybe you will just be so thrown off by the end of daylight saving time that you find it difficult to get any sleep at all!
Daylight saving time comes to an end on Sunday, November 7th at 2:00 a.m. This means that before you go to bed on Saturday night, you should go ahead and set your clocks back one hour. While most people love the thought of getting an “extra” hour of sleep, daylight saving time can cause problems for some people. Some people have difficulty adjusting to the transitions between daylight saving time and standard time, and vice versa. Either direction, the time change can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Unlike daylight saving time in the spring when we essentially lose an hour, we gain an hour in the fall. But this doesn’t necessarily translate to an extra hour of sleep. Some people find it difficult to go to bed on time, since their internal clocks aren’t matching up with the watch face. This means that they are staying up later, and getting less sleep.
So you might think it’s later than it actually is, or you might wake up in the middle of the night a little disoriented, or maybe you show up late to work a couple of times. So you lose a little sleep. Big deal, right? There have been a number of different studies that show how a lack of sleep can negatively impact your health. Losing sleep can lead to short-term health problems as well as long-term problems.
The immediate problems that come from a lack of sleep include things like mood and increased risk of injury. A lack of sleep can impair your judgement and lead to depression. Being tired can cause also increase the likelihood of accidents. Maybe it’s a mishap in the kitchen, or something severe like falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving is just as if not more dangerous the drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are more than 100,000 reported crashes caused by fatigue.
A continuous lack of sleep puts people at a greater risk of weight gain, increases the likelihood of developing certain diseases, and can weaken the immune system.
Here’s some advice to help you keep your sleep cycle on track:
- Make sure you change all of your clocks. Many devices, like computers and smartphones, will change time automatically, but the clock on your microwave or the one in your car probably won’t.
- Give yourself a bed time. Bedtime isn’t just for kids. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. Your internal clock might keep you from feeling tired, but you will get used to the time change soon enough.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day.
- Exercise regularly — but not too close to bed time. A walk in the evening or a game of handball after work is relaxing, but working out near your bedtime can actually be stimulating and keep you awake.