What will you do with the “extra” hour you get Sunday with the end of daylight saving time?
Brett Kuhn suggests you sleep through it. Another expert suggests you might have other options.
2 a.m. Sunday. Set your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night.
Kuhn, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at Children's Hospital & Medical Center. He said the hour of sleep that people gain by setting their clocks back could help a lot of sleep-deprived people in today's 24/7 society.
“Even that one hour can make a measurable difference,” he said.
Research suggests that the extra hour of sleep people get in the fall makes them less moody and more alert, he said. Swedish researchers reported in 2008 that the number of heart attacks dipped the Monday after the late-year clock adjustment.
Dr. Lindsay Northam, an internal medicine physician with Methodist Physicians Clinic, says the one-hour time change isn't as important as what has been happening as our bodies have adjusted to the decrease in sunlight over the past month.
“As the sunlight brightens in the morning, your body produces cortisol. That's what tells you to be awake,” Northam said. “As it gets darker in the evening, as it gets to dusk time, that's when your body starts to increase that production of melatonin, and that's what causes you to be tired.
“It's going to be brighter earlier in the morning now. You're going to start to produce that cortisol earlier in the morning than you were before.”
She suggests people use the hour Sunday to wash the car or clean the garage.
Regardless of what you choose to do, Kuhn said parents of infants won't like “falling back.” “If an infant normally wakes up at 6 in the morning, now your infant is going to be waking up at 5 in the morning.”