Fall Time Change Could Be Boon for Sleep

SATURDAY Oct. 20, 2007 -- When the clocks go back an hour on the first Sunday in November, you should use that extra hour to make a small payment on your sleep debt, experts say.

Too often, work and family responsibilities take precedence over sleep in our society, noted Dr. Clete Kushida of the Sleep Disorders Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., and a member of the board of directors at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

"It's important to make sleep a priority, particularly since the lack of it results in daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory problems, and mood changes, any of which can decrease productivity at work and increase family stress," Kushida said in a prepared statement.

"In addition, there is some scientific evidence that sleep loss may be linked to impairment of the immune system as well as to increased appetite and weight gain. Fortunately, the switch to standard time provides a good opportunity to obtain additional sleep. The key to taking advantage of the time switch is to go to bed earlier," he said.

The extra hour of sleep offered by the time change can help mental and physical rejuvenation, according to Ralph Downey III, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

"With the fall time change, we get an extra hour to do with as we please. If we sleep the extra hour, our mind and body will thank us. While we can't save time, we can spend it wisely be spending the extra hour sleeping," Downey said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep.

Posted: October 2007


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