Gaining that extra hour at end of daylight saving can affect your health, experts say

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- At 2 a.m. Sunday, we'll turn our clocks back an hour as daylight saving time comes to an end.

And while that means an extra hour of sleep, is that good for your health?

Busy pharmaceutical representative Peggy Melkonian, of Pasadena, is looking forward to turning back her clock this weekend.

"Because you get that extra hour of sleep, right?" she said.

But studies show only a minority of people actually get that promised extra hour of sleep. Many people have more trouble falling asleep, are more likely to wake up during the night and many wake up earlier.

Neurologist Dr. Armen Cherik with Adventist Health said people tend to be sleepier in the fall season.

"In fall, you're more likely to be more sleepy when you wake up in the morning because you're looking for more sleep," he said.

He said our internal body clocks are tuned to the daily cycle of light and darkness. When you mess with that, hormone levels need time to transition.

"It can give you daytime sleepiness. It can give you fatigue, lack of concentration and memory issues, and lack of performance at work," Cherik said.

Some studies suggest the time change can lead to depressed mood, increased blood pressure and overeating - especially for the chronically sleep-deprived.

"If you sleep, let's say, five hours a night on a regular basis you're going to have more trouble with the change in time," Cherik said.

One population Cherik said is going to have a tough time adjusting are teenagers and young adults who already have an erratic sleep pattern. His advice is pick a bedtime and stick with it.

"If you're going to sleep at midnight, sleep at midnight every night. Don't sleep at midnight at one night and then 2 in the morning the other day," he said.

To make a healthy adjustment to the time change, Cherik recommends limiting alcohol and caffeine, especially late in the day.

Maximize your exposure to natural light and exercise at the same time every day. This is something Melkonian already does, so she's looking forward to that extra hour.

"Yeah, I guess I'll be going to sleep at 10 p.m., but really it'll be 11," she said.

Experts said do all the right things and your body will catch up.
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