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Fall back: Sleep physician explains how time change affects people

Posted at 7:37 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 21:37:09-04

With everything being digital now, sometimes we don't even realize it’s Daylight Saving Time. But it may be a bigger deal than some of us realize.

“It’s not necessarily something that’s universally appreciated. There’s a lot of data now that suggests that daylight saving time is actually hard on us,” explained Dr. James Osmanski, a sleep physician at Bozeman Health.

When the clock strikes 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, it’ll actually go back an hour to 1 a.m. For some that just means an extra hour of sleep. But internally, time change directly affects your body.

“You’re not necessarily adding or taking away, what you’re doing is changing the time that we’re awake and go to sleep, and what tends to happen is that our circadian rhythm doesn't catch up. In some people, it can be a couple of days. In some people, it can be a couple of weeks. But in some people, they just don’t adapt,” he said.

Which can lead to other health issues.

“It can lead to a variety of different metabolic problems. So, we tend to eat more, our blood pressures run higher, our heart rate tends to run a little bit higher, and there’s a number of other metabolic problems that occur in response to that simple shift,” Dr. Osmanski explained.

Since the time change is in a couple of days, it’s a little too late this time. But Dr. OsmanskI says you can do this simple trick a week before to help.

“We advise people to do is to try to go to bed earlier by about 15 minutes and get up earlier by about 15 minutes. Going to bed earlier allows us to kind of shift towards that upcoming time change and getting up earlier allows us to be exposed to the blue wavelength light that helps reset our circadian clocks back to normal,” he said.