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Your Healthy Family: Dealing with Daylight Saving Time Sleepiness

Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 11:40:14-04

CLEVELAND CLINIC — Now that we’ve sprung forward, you may be feeling that lost hour of sleep.

It may not seem like much, but losing even an hour, in an already sleep-deprived society, can have health implications.

“Research has shown an association with an increased risk for stroke, heart attack, car accidents, and also we have seen, in some research, a spike in depression episodes,” said Cinthya Pena, MD, a sleep specialist with Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Pena said the pandemic has wreaked havoc on sleep.

People are feeling more stress and anxiety which can disrupt sleep. In addition, our schedules are out of whack due to home schooling and remote work, making it difficult to maintain healthy sleep habits.

Also, when we’re not commuting to work in the morning, we’re exposed to less light and our bodies need daylight to help regulate our internal clock.

Daylight saving time adds to the sleep deprivation we’re already experiencing.

So, how do we overcome the tiredness we’re feeling?

Dr. Pena said exposure to sunlight will help – so get outside, if you can.

You may also benefit from a quick catnap.

“It would be good to take a nap. As long as it’s a power nap of 15-20 minutes, no more than that,” said Dr. Pena. “That will help people to feel rejuvenated and feel better during those episodes where they feel a little bit drowsy or sluggish.”

Dr. Pena said exercising in the morning is another way to perk yourself up. She explained, exercise increases your body temperature which helps wake you up and will allow you to function better.