INDIANAPOLIS — Daylight Saving Time is coming to an end this weekend and our clocks will “fall back” an hour. The clocks roll back one hour at 2 a.m., November 1, 2020.
The general perception is that you get an extra hour of sleep Saturday night, the reality, according to health experts, is that most of us won’t. A fact mostly attributable to our lifestyles, but nonetheless that can impact our health.
There have been reports of worsened mood disorders such as depression, increased suicide rate following the DST time changes. Increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, poor metabolism, weight gain, car accidents, have been documented as well.
This is a notably bigger problem in the spring when the clocks “spring forward” and Daylight Saving begins, but health professionals say it’s something they see in the fall as well.
Leading many to wonder, “Why do we even do this?”
“The American Academy of sleep medicine put out a position recently advocating for the United States to go to full standard time. It makes sense biologically to stick to standard time. The initial benefits of going to DST for energy efficiency is really minimal, some people even report negative effects and it’s at the consequence of some people’s lives,” IU Health Sleep Physician Stephanie Stahl said.
According to Dr. Stahl, the sleep disruption prompted by “falling back” and “springing forward” tends to be felt for about a week. However, there are some ways you can mitigate the effects.
“If you’re tired, don’t drive, get someone else to drive for you so you’re practicing safety precautions. Stick to a routine, meaning going to bed about the same time every night and waking up about the same time every day. And even eating and exercising about the same time to get yourself back into the routine,” she said.
To help better adjust for the “fall back,” Stahl suggests going to sleep a half-hour later than usual then waking up a half-hour later if possible.
She also recommends practicing good sleep habits such as not bringing phones or devices into bed and not ingesting caffeine for 8 hours prior to bedtime. Limiting alcohol and tobacco use is also recommended.