Kettering doctor says accidents increase during daylight saving time, recommends ways to put spring in your step

Miami Valley News

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – No one likes losing sleep, but it may be difficult to get a full night’s rest during daylight saving time. Director of sleep medicine at Kettering Medical Center, Dr. Kevin Carter, said taking your sleep too lightly this weekend can have some serious side effects on your mood and attentiveness.

“It doesn’t seem like it, but there’s plenty of studies that have demonstrated a negative impact on us: from increased motor vehicle collisions, fatalities associated with myocardial infarctions or heart attacks, increased hospitalizations. ER visits increase.”

He said those are just a few of the issues reported around daylight saving time. Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety also tend to be impacted by inadequate sleep. He said that one hour on Saturday night may not seem like much, but adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night, especially during the time change. 

“What happens that Monday morning is we have less light in the morning, and then we have more light in the evening, which can further delay someone’s ability to make up for that one hour adjustment. And they can start preparing now. So instead of waiting till Saturday night to get to bed early or Sunday for that time change [and] that adjustment process, they can start, hopefully, three, four days earlier.”

And getting ahead of your sleep schedule is just one of many methods everyone can use to put some spring in their step.

“The most powerful time adjuster is light,” said Carter. “So that bright light in the morning is very important, and light avoidance is important in the evening because as light goes down, or the sun, melatonin comes up, and that’s our natural sleep aid.”

Following a consistent bedtime routine and avoiding stimulators such as caffeine and vigorous activity are also recommended to maximize sleep time and quality. If you’re doing all of those things correctly and are still struggling with getting adequate sleep, Dr. Carter said people “should reach out to their primary care physician and talk about it and get those problems addressed.”

Clocks will shift forward one hour on Saturday at 2 a.m. For more information on how to maximize sleep, click here.

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