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Topsy-Turvy World of Daylight-Saving Time Returns

Mar. 7, 2008, 7:35 AM

The arrival of daylight-saving time this weekend means extra time for evening yard work or barbecues, but for some it also means sleepy days at work and even a bit of crankiness.
This year, clocks will be move forward one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9. That hour of lost sleep shouldn’t cause any long-term health hazard, but it may require some adjustment time, said Beth Malow, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and medical director of theVanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center.
“Even if we try to go to bed earlier to compensate,” Malow explains, “our schedules will be off, so some of us will feel a little crankier the next day. It’s kind of like traveling and having jet lag.”
Your body will make up the lost time in a few days, so be patient until you adjust, Malow says.
And be sure to get plenty of sleep from now until Sunday, because if you’re well-rested you’ll be better prepared to deal with the switch, she adds. That’s seven to eight hours a night for most adults, and more for children.
Feel free to take a nap on Sunday afternoon, if you feel that you need it, but don’t grab a few winks too close to your typical bedtime, Malow says.
“The important thing to remember is that after a few days, this will smooth itself out, so don’t worry too much about it,” she said.
As many parents know, getting kids to sleep on time is hard even when the time isn’t bouncing around. It’s important to maintain your child’s regular nap and bed times as daylight-saving time arrives, said Jaime Bonilla, manager of Vanderbilt’s Sleep Disorders Center.
“It should make a difference for a few days, as children adjust to the new routine of their ‘sleep hygiene,'” Bonilla said.
It may help to adjust their bedtime by 15 minutes or so each day starting now, instead of changing it a full hour on Sunday night before a school day.
“If you can make smaller changes before the time change, that’s preferable,” Malow said.
But if you find that you or your children are still sleepy during the day, ask your doctor about a referral to a sleep specialist. Many sleep disorders are treatable.

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