DENVER -- It’s time to spring forward. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10.
Many of us dread setting the clock ahead an hour because if just throws us off for a couple or three days, but there are things you can do to ease the effect of getting less sleep.
Daylight saving time is designed to help us make the most of the daylight.
On the good side, the extra sunlight can put us in a better mood, but getting less sleep can cause health problems many don’t suspect.
Dr. Lisa Meltzer of National Jewish Health says a sudden reduction in sleep can be dangerous for commuters, in fact, studies show an increase in the number of accidents after the time change.
“Driving is a complex behavior that involves a lot of things like paying attention, noticing your surroundings, having a very quick reaction time if someone in front of you slams on the brakes. When you don't get enough sleep all of those functions are slow,” she says.
Research also shows not getting 6-9 hours of sleep makes you more likely to make mistakes on the job during the day and can even increase your risk of heart attack.
Doctors say to prevent problems, go to bed early, starting two days before you set your clock ahead.
Dr. Meltzer says, “Resist the urge to stay up late and have a consistent sleep schedule. Sunday morning sleep in, but not more than an hour later than you normally would.”
You should also expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible on Monday morning “by opening your eyes and not wearing sunglasses in the morning, it tells your brain to stop making melatonin, the hormone that can make you sleepy.”
Experts say it takes most people about a week to adjust to daylight saving time. For more information about how to get a good night’s sleep, visit www.nationaljewish.org .AlertMe