Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Daylight Saving Time can impact your health

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Daylight Saving Time can impact your health
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If you were irritable following Daylight Saving Time, you're not alone. In this edition of Healthy Living, Katie Gibas explains the health impacts of the change.

If you're still feeling the effects of Daylight Saving Time, you're not alone.

"The difficulty is that you end up losing your circadian rhythm. So it's not just the next day, it's the next four or five days where your body is still trying to readjust to that time change," said Neil Widrick, the St. Joseph's Hospital sleep clinic manager.

Dr. Antonio Culebras, a sleep medicine specialist at Upstate Medical University added, "We lose the hour that they take away from us. But that is compounded by the fact that many people are unable to fall asleep at the conventional time according to the clock.

It can often take as many as ten days to get over the loss of sleep. Some studies suggest you could lose as much as an hour of sleep per night for a week, or more, because of the time change.

The extra tiredness has health consequences.

"That could lead to less productivity at work and, most ominously, motor vehicle accidents," said Culebras.

Widrick said, "Drowsy driving in very similar to intoxicated driving. You do not have the reflexes and the ability to make good decisions and good stops. You tend to be more distracted."

While you may still be feeling irritable because of daylight saving time, there are plenty of things you can do to make it more bearable.

Culebras suggested, "It's important to take a few days to satisfy the most sleep you can. And then, once you have satisfied your sleep, go back to your old routines."

Health experts also recommend eating right, exercising daily, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. They also suggest thinking ahead for the next time change. Start gradually changing your bedtime one week before so it will be a less drastic shift in your sleep schedule.

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