The time change is something to keep in mind when you get behind the wheel
VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania -- The clocks changed over the weekend and even though we gained an hour of sleep, the fall time change is not a universally easy transition.
"Most people adjust relatively well, but there are some that struggle with it more than others," explained Shilpa Kauta, M.D., the medical director of the ChristianaCare Sleep Wellness Center in Newark, Delaware. "Sleep is a cornerstone to our health and our wellness, just like nutrition and exercise."
She said falling back an hour can have several impacts on our body and regular schedules.
"Anyone who suffers from migraines is familiar with any disruptions to their sleep. Any stress on their body can worsen their migraine frequency and intensity," Dr. Kauta stated.
Dr. Kauta said daylight saving time changes could affect some more than others.
"I do think people who have Seasonal Affective Disorder notice the change more. They're going to feel more sluggish, a little more depressed," she said.
Dr. Kauta added that those who wake up early and go to bed early may also find this week challenging.
"For instance, if someone naturally wakes up at 5 a.m. with this time change, their body just naturally wakes up at 4 a.m. This can be frustrating and lead to lack of sleep initially in that week following the time change," Dr. Kauta said.
The time change is also something to keep in mind when you get behind the wheel.
"What many don't realize is sleep schedules will be affected," said Jana Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA. "Why is AAA concerned about that? Because sleep disruption can lead to drowsy driving, and statistics show us that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving."
Tidwell said commutes will look different this week, with sun glare a factor in the morning and the ride home being dark.
"People will need to adjust- not just headlights and those types of things- but cognitively adjust to what the new reality is going to be as the days get shorter and the nights get longer," Tidwell said.
Tidwell said drivers should take steps, like slowing speeds and increasing following distance.
As for Dr. Kauta, she encourages people to look at this fall time change as an opportunity to fix sleep habits.
"If you're someone who has been saying, 'I want to get to bed earlier, I want to get to bed an hour earlier'- this is the time to do it," Dr. Kauta said, adding this applies to kids' sleep habits as well.