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Published on October 27, 2011

End of Daylight Saving: A Great Time for a Sleep Checkup

In Brief

  • The one-hour difference in sleep at the beginning and end of DST can easily disrupt our ability to sleep properly. When we ‘gain’ an extra hour of sleep, it can cause us to be more sleepy and groggy during the day, and a little less tired at night.
  • With three convenient locations in Delaware County, Crozer-Keystone’s sleep programs are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which is dedicated to setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine healthcare, education and research. 

The end of Daylight Saving Time (DST), which is on Sunday, Nov. 6, marks the end of our extended, sunny days. When it’s over, it’s back to those long, cold, dark nights. Along with this “fall” back in time, our sleep schedules can be disrupted and disturbed.

“The one-hour difference in sleep at the beginning and end of DST can easily disrupt our ability to sleep properly,” says Asad Khan, M.D., pulmonologist and medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Brinton Lake. “When we ‘gain’ an extra hour of sleep, it can cause us to be more sleepy and groggy during the day, and a little less tired at night. Changes in waking time coupled with the earlier onset of darkness throws off our internal clocks”

To help with the switch from DST, the National Institutes of Health recommends the following:

  • Seven to 19 days before DST ends, go to bed 10-15 minutes later so that by the time it hits, you will already be right on target.
  • No matter what time of the year, room-darkening shades can help promote an environment that is conducive to sleep.
  • Try to expose yourself to as much light as possible in the morning after DTS ends. Because the clocks move back an hour, it’s darker in the morning than you are used to. Exposing yourself to a lot of light will help wake you up.
  • See a doctor if you think you have an ongoing sleeping problem.

“If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, or if you always feel tired the next day, then you may have a sleep disorder and should see your doctor,” says Michael Weinstein, M.D., pulmonologist and medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively, so you can finally get that good night's sleep you need.”

Many times, a sleep disorder is overlooked by the sufferer. The following are signs of a sleep disorder and are valid reasons for evaluation by a sleep specialist:

  • Snoring that disturbs the bed partner
  • Inability to fall asleep at night
  • Feeling tired during the day
  • Falling asleep while driving, at work or school
  • Experiencing an itchy, crawly feeling in the legs
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Waking up with a headache or dry/sore throat

“It’s important to evaluate your sleep habits throughout the year — not just at the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time,” says Calvin Stafford, M.D., chief of the Section of Neurology at Taylor Hospital. “Our sleep plays a vital role in promoting our health and well being, and getting the sleep that you need is likely to enhance your overall quality of life.”

With three convenient locations in Delaware County, Crozer-Keystone’s sleep programs are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which is dedicated to setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine healthcare, education and research. 

To schedule a prompt appointment with a Crozer-Keystone sleep specialist, call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703) or fill out a secure online form at http://sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org.

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