By Jamie Rieger
In the large scheme of things a single hour may nor seem overly significant. Those sixty minutes are just enough time to munch down some lunch and relax for a bit before heading back to work from our midday break. An hour is just enough time to fill up the tank and head into the Hat for visits with my granddaughter (and her mommy and daddy).
We rarely give much thought to that little of a block of time because in the grand scheme of things, an hour is really such a small thing.
But, boy, oh boy, take away that little chunk of time from our sleep time and those sixty minutes suddenly becomes mightily important.
We all sprung our clocks ahead this past weekend and I really hope none of you actually did it at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning when the time officially jumped ahead and chose to change the clocks before retiring for the night.
The loss of that one hour of sleep time has varying effects on people. For many, they don’t feel any effect at all and a quick nap suffices, but for others, the change can actually have health effects.
A University of Michigan study shows that there is a 25-percent increase in heart attacks during the first work day following the spring time change and cited a doctor who said the event increases stress levels and thus, the increase in heart attacks.
The Sleep Disorders Health Center even offers tips for people who have a hard time adjusting to the time change. First, they recommend a gradual transition by going to bed and putting the children to bed 15 minutes early for several days prior to the change.
They also recommend taking short afternoon naps (not too close to bedtime) and to avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings.
Knowing how much sleep your body needs helps; as does keeping regular sleep hours as it helps your body regulate its sleep patterns.
Getting exercise during the day and avoiding stimulating substances close to bedtime are also beneficial whether or not there is a time change going on.
Some people dread the change to Daylight Savings Time each spring, but they should fret not. The adjustment is temporary and we all get to enjoy more daylight at the end of the day, making our evenings more pleasurable.