Time Change Disrupts Sleep Patterns For Some

March 03, 2009

Daylight saving time brings longer daylight hours but can also mean a disruption in sleep patterns. As many as 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep disorders and wakefulness and “springing forward” only compounds the problem.

"Losing an hour of sleep because of the change to daylight saving time affects all of us to a certain degree, and for some, adjusting to the time change is a serious issue," said Robert McCain, M.D., pulmonologist and director of the Southern Hills Sleep Disorders Center. "A New England Journal of Medicine article by Canadian psychologist Stanley Coren warned that traffic record show a jump in accidents the Monday after people move their clocks ahead. People are so sleep deprived these days that losing even one hour can make us more clumsy and dangerous on the roads."

McCain says sleep may seem like inactivity, but it’s vital for the body and brain to rest, revitalize and download. Memory, mood reaction time and alertness are diminished with sleep deprivation, and recent research has also found that metabolism and endocrine functions are dramatically affected as well.

“Temporary sleep problems due to the time change are one thing, but chronic sleep problems require treatment,” said McCain. “That’s where the sleep center comes in. By monitoring our patients’ sleep difficulties, we can suggest adjustments to help them resume a healthy sleep pattern. We often have patients who have been searching for a solution to their sleep problems for years. When they come here they say, ‘Why didn’t someone point this out to me before?’”

ease the transition to daylight saving time, McCain suggests the following tips:

  • Don’t’ take over the counter sleep aids, as these can disrupt sleep stages.
  • Exercise is good for sleep, but not with in two hours of going to sleep.
  • Don’t consume caffeinated beverages late in the day.
  • Use weekends to catch up on any missed sleep throughout the week.

Staffed with physicians and technologists who specialize in sleep medicine, Southern Hills studies and treats hundreds of patients each year to help them reclaim a good night’s sleep. The Sleep Disorders Center diagnoses and treats adults, adolescents, and children with sleep disorders including insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and others.

To learn more about services offered at Southern Hills’ Sleep Disorders Center, call TriStar MedLine at 615-342-1919 or visit TriStarHealth.com.

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