Study shows daylight saving time affects teens the most

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INDIANAPOLIS,Ind. (March 13, 2016)–So by now you have figured out that daylight saving time began at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, but it may take a while for your body to adjust to having turned that clock ahead  one hour.

Monday morning will come and family members may be asking themselves, “Why am I having so much trouble waking up on time.”

Some may even be tempted to hit the snooze alarm to catch a few extra moments of sleep.

A sleep study  just published in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine journal found evidence a teenager’s altered biological clock is made worse by the shift in time.

Melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleep, shifts by about two hours during puberty.  So, even if teenagers wanted to go to bed earlier, they’re battling body changes that are nearly impossible to overcome.

Dr. Lisa Meltzer,PhD, a sleep psychologist at National Jewish Health and lead author of the study says, “It’s not that they don’t want to go to bed, but physiologically they simply can’t fall asleep earlier.  So the logical solution is to allow them  to sleep later.”

Sleeping later won’t get your teen on the school bus on time and it’s not like you can change a teenager’s biology. Dr. Metzler offers some advice to help teens develop healthier sleeping habits.

  • Get all electronics out of the bedroom.  TVs, computers, video games and phones are   major distractions for teens and often delay sleep.
  • Don’t look at any screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime.  Though turning off media is as simple as flipping a switch, the human brain does not work the same way.  Being stimulated by media just before bed can make the brain too active to sleep.
  • Set up family charging stations, where mom, dad and the kids plug in their phones at night so they are out of reach.
  • Most importantly, set a consistent routine.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.  This one habit can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality of sleep you get.

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