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Adjust your schedule to daylight saving time

March 2, 2009

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Most people struggle to maintain a healthy sleeping hygiene, says Dr. John Whipple – especially during daylight saving time.

Whipple, who is the medical director of Acumen Institute in Lawrence, says a healthy person should head to bed between the hours of 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“The old saying ‘early to bed, early to rise’ is a good idea for everyone,” he says.

By going to bed earlier, Whipple says it helps level out a person’s hormonal regulation of mood and energy.

“There are very few people who maintain a good sleep hygiene,” he says.

Although daylight saving time can interrupt a person’s routine, Whipple says it is only a minor setback.

“One night of losing an hour of sleep really doesn’t make a difference,” he says.

Whipple says in no way is daylight saving time comparable to jet lag, which is a more exhausting amount of sleep loss.

“If you travel west, you lose an hour,” he says. “Most people don’t notice a jet lag. It’s when we lose six or eight hours that we feel it.”

On Saturday, people across the country will set their clocks forward, crawl into bed and wake up an hour earlier. But it’s one day, one weekend, and the benefits of springing forward outweigh the disadvantages, Whipple says.

“If anything, it should help,” he says.

By springing forward, Whipple says it enables people to be more productive throughout the day, as daylight lasts longer in the spring.

“People just need to pay attention to their sleep hygiene,” he says. “The best time for physical activity is during the day.”

Whipple says because the daylight will last longer, people might consider working out later in the night, which will only make it more difficult for them to fall asleep.

In addition, Whipple says people who suffer from mood disorders might have more difficulty adapting to the time change.

“People who have chronic depression or are bipolar might be very sensitive to daylight saving time,” he says.

Regardless, Whipple says daylight saving time shouldn’t bother people if they pay attention to the time and stick to a routine.

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