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November 5th, 2010
03:44 PM ET

Body clock disrupted by 'falling back'? Stay in bed

Daylight saving time ends this weekend. At 2 a.m. Sunday, the clock falls back one hour. While most of us plan to embrace that blessed hour (by sleeping right through it), the time change can throw a few people for a loop.

“They won’t be sleep-deprived, but it’ll hurt their ability to shift their body clock,” said Dr. Alfred Lewy, a professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Health and Science University.

“It might take a couple of days. For some it takes up to a week to shift,” Lewy said. “There are research papers that show that traffic accidents increase up to a week after the changes both in the fall and spring. It’s kind of like having jet lag.”

Expect more light in the morning and less light in the afternoon.

The simple secret to great sleep

To avoid having your body clock disrupted, Lewy’s advice is simple: “Even if you can’t sleep an extra hour, stay in bed with your eyes closed. If you want to get up, don’t go outdoors. Draw the blinds and don’t have lots of sunlight come into house.”  This could help your body adjust to the time change.

6 doctor-recommended sleep aids

And our friends at iReport and CNNHeroes are challenging you to give back when you fall back: Take that extra hour and do some good for the world.


soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. J T

    I'm a Fireman, my circadian rhythm isn't normal anyway.

    November 7, 2010 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Echo

    I really get PO'ed at this end of daylight saving time......my plants need that extra hour of sunlight...hahahaha!

    November 7, 2010 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. NoSuchThingAsAnOpinion

    Do you wish to debate someone who placed 74th in the world? http://nosuchthingasanopinion.blogspot.com/

    November 7, 2010 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bill Brasky

    I have to work 9 hours tonight!

    November 7, 2010 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. matthew whitted

    With so many people out of jobs, I do not know why this would even be remotely important. I dont like changing my clock twice a year anyway because I have to remember that my cellphone and computer stay caught up, while other clocks may not.

    November 7, 2010 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. jon

    Can any one help me understand the logic behind the clock going back and forth Who invented it and why. What a waste of time. Is it possoble to stop it or we need another election to play politics. Thanks for any help and info.

    November 7, 2010 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. The_Mick

    The "Fall Back" doesn't bother me, it's the early Sunset – 4:59 pm today for Baltimore!

    November 7, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RH

      Just cover your bedroom windows with tin foil until it's dark enough in the mornings again for you. Or darker blinds or heavier curtains.

      November 7, 2010 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • RH

      Ooops, my mistake, I was thinking morning. Was wondering how it could be so light out as early as that here in northern states at this time of year!! lol

      November 7, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
  8. RH

    Our son is in Afghanistan, now he's only 7.5 hours ahead of us rather than 8.5. Afghanistan doesn't have DST.

    November 7, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. j

    So it will get darker sooner? Point blank.

    November 7, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Caila

    I would like to say that as a high school student, it's a bit nicer to go to school while the sun is at least starting to rise. Waking up in the dark and then going outside to wait for my bus for 10 minutes in the dark while freezing is not an enjoyable experience. When we fall back, I can at least get some warmth by standing in the sun while I wait. Also, on the topic of homework the one commentor brought up, the curriculum is what we need to change if we want to get ahead. Doing homework just makes whatever it is that was taught in the classroom solidify in your memory. If students were just given more homework on the same curriculum, it wouldn't help us catch up to other industrialized nations but would further cement the same facts that we're taught in the current curriculum.

    November 7, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. checkdent

    Doesn't affect me at all. I keep one watch at the summer time and I don't see any problems in adjusting my body clock. Also I love the extra light hour through the summer.

    November 7, 2010 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. (Required)

    Maybe during this follicular phase I'm in I'll have less insomnia (have to love perimenopause) while adjusting back to standard time since I'll be more sleepy to begin with? I don't . Maybe? Right..lol Maybe tonight I'll sleep.. if I can stay up late enough to be the dst time I'm sort of used to!!

    November 7, 2010 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Cole

    Listen..Oh, I don't even know how to begin expressing my displeasure with this article. Well, not so much the article; I found it quite well-written. Nice work, Madison. Now, the subject is a totally different animal. The subject is Daylight Savings Time. And that's bullshit to begin with. The idea that somehow people would be more productive during the day if we literally SHIFT TIME ITSELF over a few minutes is like going into work on Monday and saying, "Hey, I didnt enjoy last weekend...So, we're gonna do it again, and now, it's Saturday again. Let's get some drinks!", downing a bottle of tequila and pissing on your supervisor's desk. It's fun for a little while, but soon, it's all revealed to be pointless and it could get someone in trouble.

    That's my take on Daylight Savings Time. What's yours? Well, truthfully, I don't care. If you're reading this, you either agree with me, or you're one of those saps that's actually physically disrupted by this fake time shift that we idiots do. If you are, I have this to say: GET OVER IT!! YOU'RE AN ADULT, FOR GOD'S SAKE! You mean to tell me that your life is so rigidly structured that 60 minutes out of place with cause you physical discomfort?! Well then, let me give you a little insight into what I do to combat such things. You see, I work in 12-hour shifts. At night. I work two days, I'm off two days, I work another two days, I'm off three, I work three, then the whole dumbass thing starts over again. Or something like that, I don't even care to figure it out right now. My point is, what do you think I do on my days off? Sleep all day and stay up all night? NO! I, like most of you, have SHIT TO DO!! So, my schedule really works out to something more like this: Work two nights, stay up the next day, get a good night's sleep, wake up for the day, go to work that evening, and pass out when I get home from work, wake up in time to work again, work 12 hours, leave work, go to the bank, the grocery store, take a nice big dump, grab a bite to eat, go home, etc. In other words, my sleep schedule is...nonexistant. I sleep when I can, and if I can keep running like I have been on that, YOU CAN QUIT WHINING ABOUT ONE STUPID LITTLE HOUR!!

    Is the whole thing flippin' pointless? Yes. Do we have to deal with it anyway? Yes. Welcome to Life in America. Or on Earth, for that matter. But hey, it's not all bad. At least this article got me through a good 20 minutes of this nonsense. Thanks for playing along.

    November 7, 2010 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Michael J. Hutchinson

    Colorado should follow Arizona and Hawaii, for dropping the Daylight-saving time. I am tired of changing the clocks twice a year. Since the daylight-saving time creates morning darkness, which I do not like that idea! I hate the daylight-saving time!
    Or maybe the nation should drop DST, and observe it nmore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 7, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Hans Linnartz

    People talk about "the calculations" as favoring DST, but has any reliable empirical study actually been done to show that there is an actual, measurable energy saving over time? We've had DST for a lot of years now; why haven't I seen anything more than calculations based on assumptions about how much energy an average person uses at given times of the day? My suspicion is that there is NO energy saving at all. It's a leisure light time extender for most workers and schoolkids, but probably not particularly green.

    November 8, 2010 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Samantha

    Is your body clock disturbed? Are you falling asleep at odd hours and waking up at odd hours? Are you feeling sleepy while at work? Are you unable to concentrate at home or work due to lack of proper sleep? The answer to all these questions is the hormone Melatonin.

    Melatonin which is a naturally occurring hormone in our body regulates our sleep wake-cycle. Melatonin levels are regulated by light. Under sunlight or artificial light, the level of this hormone decreases and we feel alert, awake and ready to work. On the other hand, in the darkness Melatonin levels increase and hence we feel dizzy and sleepy. An irregularity in the rise and fall of Melatonin a level cause insomnia or disturbs our biological clock. A proven way to overcome this trouble is by providing the body with dietary supplements called “Melatonin Supplements”. The best producer of these supplements being Eurohealth http://www.eurohealthproject.com/melatonin_biotonin

    At Eurohealth you have full freedom to select the dosage and preparation of the Melatonin Supplements as per your own need. This is important because each one of us is different and our needs are different according to our age and physical state. Older people need higher dosage as the Melatonin levels reduce as we age. Both oral and sublingual preparations with dosage range (0.2 to 3.0 mg) are available at Eurohealth.
    Melatonin Supplements have no side effects and are strong antioxidant. In contrast to sleeping pills they are non addictive. By taking these we can restore the lost balance in our lives. Melatonin Supplements are the most safe, effective, easy and cheap way to enjoy good and quality health.

    December 10, 2010 at 02:25 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.