Daylight Saving: Sleep and the Brain

The end of Daylight Saving Time occurred last weekend and boy are we feeling it! While adjusting in the fall is easier than in spring because we gain an hour of sleep for the fall time change, you might not actually be getting that extra hour of sleep. In fact most of us are trying to adjust to the darker days and brighter mornings leading to sleep cycle madness.

The end of daylight saving happens this weekend. Learn how changes in your sleep cycle affect your brain. The sun sets closer to 5 pm, meaning the sun has normally gone down by the time many leave work. This can affect mood and overall happiness, leading to seasonal depression in some. In order to combat this, Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., suggests taking advantage of the early sun before work in the morning.

Those most likely to have difficulty adjusting to the time change are short sleepers (our little ones) and early risers, because they’re less likely to be able to take advantage of the extra hour of sleep this weekend. Radraraju advises delaying sleep for an extra hour at night. It could take as long as an hour to adjust to the time change. This way, you may wake up an hour later and therefore become more accustomed to the new hours.

Daylight Saving and Your Sleep Cycle

The end of daylight saving happens this weekend. Learn how changes in your sleep cycle affect your brain. The largest problem with Daylight Saving Time is its affect on the sleep cycle and the brain. Even a one-hour shift in the sleep cycle can affect sleep says a new study in Sleep Medicine Reviews by Dr. Yvonne Harrison.

Much like in spring, during fall, many people do not actually get that extra hour of sleep, keep waking up earlier, and have trouble falling sleep. Americans already have a problem with their sleep. Few have quality sleep cycles; they feel restless, underslept, or they cannot feel refreshed or stay asleep. Statistically:

  • Hours of Rest: Adults generally require 8 to 8.5 Hours of sleep per night
  • 1 in 3 Adults have insomnia at some point in their lives
  • 43% of Americans ages 13-64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights
  • 60% of Americans admit to suffering some sleep problem every night (snoring, waking constantly, feeling groggy in the morning)
  • 15% of adults 19-64 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights

Sleep Deprivation and the Brain

Lack of sleep or insomnia can have negative effects on your brain.

  • Mental and physical fatigue. It is estimated that fatigue due to sleeplessness is the cause of 100,000 car accidents every year. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue and possibly falling asleep throughout the day.
  • Hand-eye coordination suffers. When you don’t sleep, your body loses the ability to act quickly and be agile. You may begin to make errors in writing or drop things more frequently.
  • Lack of concentration. According to researcher Sean P.A. Drummond, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, people who have not slept were unable to “turn off ‘mind-wandering’ brain regions irrelevant to the task.” You may be drifting off at work or may zoning out. You might walk into a room and forget what you went in there looking for or forget where you put your keys. You might even forget meetings or exactly where you parked the car.

Sleep loss causes tremendous strains on the body and the brain. We have natural options to help you get your sleep back on track! Check out how our testing can help you here.


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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