Tips from Loyola sleep experts for adjusting to Daylight Savings Time

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Daylight Savings Times

Daylight Savings Time can be hazardous to health says a Loyola University expert. Losing an hour sleep can lead to accidents and other mishaps for already sleepy, stressed Americans, making it important to find ways to cope.

Tips from sleep experts for adjusting to Daylight Savings Time

Most people will lose 40 minutes of sleep with Daylight Savings Time . Napping can help the day before, but make it short so night time sleep won't be disrupted.

Dr. Nidhi Undevia, medical director of the Sleep Program at Loyola University Health System explains, "Many people already are chronically sleep-deprived, and Daylight Saving Time can make them even more tired for a few days.”

Get out and enjoy as much sunshine as possible today. Doing so can reset your internal clock, making it easier to go to bed early.

Undevia warns the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time is historically leads to higher rates of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries.


Another tip from Dr. Jennifer Kanaan at University of Connecticut Health Center is to engage in a relaxing routine before bedtime and make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and quiet.

Kanaan suggests a hot bath, soothing music or reading to facilitate sleep that can help people adjust to Daylight Savings Time.

“Sleep is as important as diet and exercise in helping people to function and to maintain good health,” says Dr. Kanaan, a pulmonologist and sleep expert at the Health Center. “Unless we choose to make sleep a priority, Daylight Saving Time will take away yet another hour of healthy sleep.”

Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center agrees lack of sleep can be hazardous to health. “Even one hour of lost sleep can take a toll on one’s health and many individuals experience grogginess, difficulty focusing, irritability and more seriously, drowsy driving. Statistically in the days following Daylight Savings there are more car accidents due to the lack of alertness.”

Zee says it’s best not to change your regular sleep time, explaining, “…setting your internal clock helps your body auto-start the sleep process accordingly.”

Working up a sweat with vigorous exercise, two to three hours before bedtime, can also help with Daylight Savings Time coping and facilitate sleep. Kanaan also recommends a hot shower and a cool bed that mimics day and night, setting the stage for a good night’s sleep.

This page is updated on May 18, 2013