Once a year, there is transition to daylight saving time. The phenomenon of sleep impairment has function and health implications. if we implement just a few simple recommendations, we can move on to summer with ease.
It happens once a year – transition to daylight saving time
Once a year it happens – the State of Israel transitions to daylight saving time. Sometimes it is surprising, sometimes when it is cold and raining and sometimes when it seems like we are already weeks into summer.
The daylight saving time in Israel is set for Friday before the last Sunday of March at 2:00 AM and stays until the last Sunday of October at 2:00 AM.
Transitioning to daylight saving time – "losing an hour" and possibly a sleeping hour!
On this day, when we go to bed, perhaps at 23:00, if we set the alarm clock to 06:00 in order to sleep the recommended 7 hours a night, we will sleep only 6 hours since actually we will wake up at 05:00, "disguised" as 06:00. That way we lose a whole sleeping hour!
In addition, it will be more difficult to wake up at the new 06:00 because outside it will be darker with the light intensity typical of 05:00. On the other hand, the extra light in the evening absorbed by our retina will send a message to our biological clock to delay the secretion of sleep hormone, melatonin. As a result, we might delay our readiness to sleep and will go to bed later than usual.
Therefore, the daylight saving time transition may upset our sleep balance.
Our response to changing the clock in the spring is indeed a recipe for sleep deprivation and a decline in its quality. Moreover it has been found that people who naturally go to bed late and get up late (when they can), those so called "night people", have a harder time getting synchronized with the daylight saving time compared to morning people.
Since a significant percentage of teenagers are night people, they may suffer from drowsiness at school with all that entails.
Safety and health consequences
Large-scale studies found that after transition to daylight saving time the rate of road accidents increases by about 6%. Other works showed working accidents increase. Sleep deprivation also undermines the cardiovascular system and the rate of mortality from heart attacks and strokes increases during this period. In addition, lack of sleep may increase the rate of mental illnesses. There may be also damage to the immune system
The daylight saving time adds light hours that enable more activity at the end of the day, but it can come at a problematic cost if physical, health and safety effects are overlooked.
What to do?
- Try to advance bedtime by an hour to make up for the hour lost. For this purpose, try to adopt behaviors that may increase your drowsiness: activity that is more physical during the day, strenuous work, reading a book that requires a lot of mental effort, or, alternatively, a boring book, immersion in a hot bath, getting a massage, etc.
- Expose yourself to daylight in the morning in order to synchronize your internal clock with the clock change.
- Be extra careful during the first week while driving and performing other risky tasks.
Strazisar BG and Strazisar L. Daylight saving time: pros and cons. Sleep Med Clin 2021;16:523-531.