It can take a week to adjust to Daylight Saving Time, sleep specialist says

Posted at 11:23 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 11:34:51-05

Get ready to lose an hour of sleep this weekend -- Daylight Saving Time starts early Sunday morning!

Dr. Vandana Dhawan with Sleep Specialists of Tidewater, a Bayview Physicians Group practice, says even though it's only an hour, it can throw off your internal body clock for a week or more.

She says the change can make it harder to wake up and fall asleep for both kids, adults and even pets.

"That can have a major impact on how we are the next week or so," Dhawan said. "People can be more irritable at work for a week or so, they can have some [gastrointestinal issues], they feel more fatigued and tired."

To help, she suggests going to bed at least 15 minutes early in the days leading to Daylight Saving Time. Light can also serve as a natural way to wake up in the morning.

“If you go outside and be in bright light for 30 minutes or expose yourself to bright light for 30 minutes, that would really take care of that and you’ll feel less tired throughout the day," she said. "Similarly in the evening, try to stay away from bright light after 8 p.m. so your body can start making more melatonin.”

But with the sun setting later, evening commuters need to be more cautious.

“In the evenings, now that it’s going to be light longer in the day, a lot more people are going to be walking, running, walking pets, lots of children out on bicycles, so be extra vigilant of those pedestrians on the road," said Holly Dalby with AAA Tidewater.

Dalby says in recent years, auto-pedestrian crashes have been on the rise in Virginia.