Doctor shares how to adjust after daylight saving change

Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 5:20 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Daylight Saving Time shift is upon us again, and many people struggle with the time and light changes.

On Nov. 5, the hour has fallen backward and light is dwindling. Dr. Sheila Asghar, LSU Health professor of neurology, speaks to KSLA’s Michael Barnes about the adjustment many of us struggle with.

According to Dr. Asghar, the time change messes up our circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock in our brain that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in our environment. When our rhythm is thrown off, it can take several days to a week to adjust to a normal sleep routine.

“Instead of sleeping in for one hour, you would say, okay, for the next day or two, I’ll just sleep in for 15 minutes and then the next couple of days I’ll sleep in for 30 minutes and then I’ll sleep for 45 minutes. And now I’m sleeping in that for one hour and now I feel okay about it,” says Dr. Asghar.

She suggests we start by sleeping an extra 15 minutes more than we would have slept before the time change. Afterward, we can add another 15 minutes of sleep daily until you get a full extra hour of sleep.

“Even though the time is changing, we need to make sure we eat regularly. We are drinking lots of water during the day. We go to bed at the same time. We get up at the same time. Because often-times if you keep a good sleep hygiene, then you are able to counteract some of these effects of feeling groggy, not being able to do anything,” Dr. Asghar explains why we should maintain our diet and hydration as we adjust.

Dr. Asghar says there is a lot of scientific research supporting theories that Daylight Saving Time changes are not good for you.

“By the time you come home, it’s already dark, right? That’s what’s happening now. And so what happens is when you get home and it’s dark, you don’t really feel like, um, you know, going out and doing something because there’s no light exposure. You feel like just curling up at home and maybe watching television and then going to bed,” says Dr. Asghar.

She says the main thing is to expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible while it is available during the day, or even to bright artificial blue lighting to help suppress the body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which is produced in darker lighting conditions.

The American Medical Association is pushing for a permanent standard time all year around.