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Ask Dr. Nandi: How daylight saving time affects your sleep and overall health

Posted at 6:27 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-02 23:21:41-04

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. On Sunday we’ll ‘fall back’ which means we set our clocks back by one hour. Now you may be dreaming of sleeping in, but is that a good idea? And how can this annual tradition affect our health?

Question: Can we really gain an extra hour of sleep?

An extra hour of sleep does sound really good but in reality, many folks actually can’t take advantage of it. And that’s because of your sleep cycle, your body is used to going to bed and getting up at specific times. So just because the clocks moved back, doesn’t necessarily mean your body is going to reset itself that quicky. In fact, this one-hour time shift can affect your sleep anywhere between 5 and 7 days. So don’t be surprised if you're tired earlier and wake up earlier. You might possibly even wake up during the night until you get used to the new schedule.

Question: So how might this affect our health?

If your sleep is affected and you’re not well-rested your memory and cognitive performance can be affected. Now that may not seem all that bad, but there are other serious health risks. A preliminary study found that Daylight Saving Time could raise the risk of a stroke by 8% two days after the time is changed. And other studies have found an increase in the risk for acute myocardial infarctions - which is the medical name for a heart attack.

Question: Do you recommend aiming to get that extra hour of sleep if you can?

Right now, not enough Americans are getting enough sleep. So yes, I would recommend sleeping in because it plays a role in memory, mood, your immune system and cardiovascular functions as well. And for those of you with kids at home like myself, well you may not be able to get any extra sleep because kids will likely get up at their usual time. Which means they’ll likely be tired earlier come Sunday night. So here’s what I suggest, starting tonight, keep them up 15 to 30 minutes past their usual bedtime. Do that for the next couple nights and you’ll be easing them into the new schedule.

Are you ready to get moving? Dr. Partha Nandi and his guests are excited to share simple workouts for every age! Celebrity trainer Brett Hoebel demonstrates “big bang exercises” that strengthen key muscles and burn calories fast. You’ll also learn all about “couch compensating”, how movement helps detox the body, ways to get kids moving and a millennia-old form of energy exercise. Plus, how an actor that struggled with addiction and grief turned his life around. Join Dr. Nandi for an all-new episode this Sunday, Nov 3rd, 2019 at 1:30AM **please note this is technically Monday as it's after midnight.