Local News

Setting Clocks Back Can Disrupt Sleeping Patterns

Posted October 25, 2002

— Most Americans will

set clocks back

an hour late Saturday or early Sunday. Experts say an extra hour of sleep is great in theory, but for some people, it disrupts their sleep patterns.

"Most people can adapt within a day or two," said Dr. Andrew Krystal, director of the Duke Sleep Research Lab.

Krystal said the one-hour time difference causes big problems for people with already irregular sleep patterns.

"There are some people who are right on the verge. And that will be enough to throw them off and you may see some insomnia or adaptation problems," Krystal said.

Problems are usually temporary, but can last for weeks, according to Krystal. He added that light is the best defense.

"If you can get light in your eyes as soon as you can after getting out of bed, that will shift your body onto the new schedule better," he said.

Children also often have a tough time adjusting, said Krystal.

Sleep experts suggested that parents maintain children's normal bedtimes, wake times, and nap times. Children should also go to bed according to the clock.

If a child has a history of sleeping problems, move bedtime in 15-minute increments each night, starting tonight. Experts also suggested that adults begin moving their bedtime now.

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