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Avoid the Negative Health Effects of Daylight Saving Time

March 5, 2021
Daylight Saving Time

The start of Daylight Saving Time is often viewed as a sign that the winter season is behind us. However, springing ahead one hour can also bring negative health impacts.

After turning our clocks ahead on Sunday, March 14, most of us believe we will only lose an hour of sleep. However, there can be a negative impact on our well-being, and Catholic Health sleep experts offer ways to minimize the time change impact.

“Daylight Saving Time provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of getting a quality night’s sleep,” said Catholic Health Sleep Services System Director Brendan Duffy. “Most are not aware that sleep is as important as diet and exercise in helping people to function at their best and maintain good health.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), there is evidence of increased risks of cardiovascular events and mood disturbances following the “spring forward” to Daylight Saving Time. The AASM said studies show that traffic fatalities have increased as much as 6% in the first few days following the time change.

Duffy offers tips to help overcome the negative impacts of Daylight Saving Time and also get a good night’s sleep throughout the year.

  • In the three or four days prior to the start of Daylight Saving Time, gradually change your family’s sleep and wake schedule. Go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier each day to accommodate the time change.
  • If you are sleepy on March 14, a short nap can be helpful. However, do not nap within a few hours of your regular bedtime to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment that is dark, cool, comfortable and quiet.
  • Have a relaxing routine before bedtime such as soaking in a hot bath, reading or listening to soothing music.
  • Set a consistent bedtime and wake time that allows for adequate sleep, even on the weekends.
  • Make sure to get a lot of natural light exposure each morning and reduce lighting and digital electronic device usage early in the evening

Catholic Health offers an array of sleep services at St. Charles Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Catherine of Siena Hospital, Mercy Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital. In addition, the Good Samaritan Pediatric Sleep Center in Babylon—which was recently refurbished—is devoted to the treatment of children in need of sleep studies.