Many Iowans are dragging at work or school today, thanks to the weekend switch from daylight saving time to standard time. Even though we “gained” an hour, the disruption in sleep schedules can make some people feel groggy and lethargic.
Dr. Brett Kuhn, director of the Behavioral Sleep Disorders Clinic in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says many of his patients are sleep-deprived. “If you’re having trouble maintaining alertness and attention during the day, you’re probably not getting enough sleep,” Dr. Kuhn says. “A telltale sign, I hate to say it, but if you’re having to be awakened by your alarm, you’re not getting enough sleep.”
It may be next week or well into November before some people’s body clocks can properly recover from the change. “Depending on your age, your natural sleep rhythm and how sleep-deprived you are, this could take a matter of three or four nights or it could actually take two weeks to adjust,” Kuhn says. “Sleep-deprived adults and teenagers probably look forward to this time of the year where, if they choose to do so, they can always sleep that extra hour.”
If you’re having a tough time, Kuhn says it’s not just the time but the lack of sunlight that may be putting you on edge. “We always talk about making adjustments to your sleep schedule but light is actually the number-one influence on our sleep-wake routine,” he says. “You want to make sure that while you’re making adjustments in clock time, that you’re also carefully managing your light exposure.”
It may help if bright lighting is used at home during the early evening hours. The time change is likely the hardest on young infants and those early to bed and early to rise. He says more people have problems adjusting in the spring when we turn our clocks forward one hour for daylight saving time.