Legacy in the News: Legacy Sleep Services Doctor Explains Effects of Springing forward into daylight saving time

The Columbian

March 10, 2014

Lingering effects of a switch to daylight saving time Sunday may have left feeling a little extra sleepy this week. But, as long as you're not chronically sleep deprived, your body should bounce back from springing forward an hour within a day or two, according to Dr. Poh Leng, a pulmonologist specializing in sleep disorders at Legacy Medical Group-Sleep Medicine and Sleep Lab in Salmon Creek.

For many people, though, the body needs a couple of days to adjust. To combat that, experts suggest turning on bright lights first thing in the morning until the internal body clock adjusts.

Teens 'worst hit'

Some people are affected more by the time change than others, said Dr. Leng.

Those who have the greatest difficulty adjusting are those who typically sleep in and stay up late on weekends, specifically teenagers, Leng said. When Monday rolls around, they're getting up one hour earlier, and that could mean they lose some rapid eye movement sleep, which affects memory and learning, he said.

"The teenage groups are the worst hit with the change," Leng said.

People who work graveyard shifts may also be impacted more than others, he said. But if they stick to their routine that allows them to sleep during the day, the effects shouldn’t be too severe, Leng said.

Everyone can benefit from keeping good habits that prepare the body for sleep, he said. Those habits include a disciplined sleep schedule (bedtime and wake-up time), avoiding distractions right before bed, exercising four hours before bed and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, Leng said.

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