Looking out the window just after 4pm here at our studios and seeing the sunset has me in awe. We just had our earliest sunset of the year because we turned back the clocks one hour!
I’m sure you’ve noticed. Your evening commute is now in pitch black. Your kids will soon get off the bus, arrive at home, and by the time they drop their school bag and change clothes, it’s too dark to send them outdoors to play!
When Daylight Saving Time begins in the spring, we sacrifice an hour of sleep, and we are rewarded with an extra glorious hour of daylight. It’s a great deal. But when the fall time change comes around, we lose that daylight hour and fall into…darkness! While a lesser deal, it’s at least tempered with a bonus hour of sleep—and we can all use that!
But do we really get more sleep?
Not necessarily so, according to a recent study. While the fall time change adds an hour to our day, the study points out that our body will likely wake at the usual time, which will counter the supposed “gain.” And we’ll feel sleepy earlier in the evening, an hour before our regular bed time. It’s a phenomena similar to jet lag—our body clock doesn’t match the external clock we see on the wall. Adjustment to this time change can take days to weeks.
The changes to daylight can also wreak havoc on our circadian rhythms—the internal body clock that sets our daily sleep/wake patterns based on darkness and lightness. For those who already have disturbed sleep patterns, this can often translate to more insomnia.
If you are struggling with the daylight savings time change, most experts recommend simply getting to bed earlier. For those experiencing insomnia or night owls like myself, that’s easier said than done!
Here's to that pot of coffee that will be waking me up in the morning! :)
- Jay Brown