Health effects from adjusting to Daylight Saving Time

Published: Mar. 12, 2016 at 11:16 PM PST
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Many of you will feel a little drowsier or crankier than usual on Monday. As we set our clocks forward, the health effects of losing that extra hour of sleep can make a difference.

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. According to Dr. Torch of the Washoe Sleep Disorders Center, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep and toddlers need 9-11 hours of sleep.

If you're not getting the proper amount of sleep already, losing an hour can be harmful to your health.

"Heart attacks can increase, blood pressure can go up, accidents can occur, your mental functions can be impaired," said Dr. Torch.

For normal sleepers, getting only five hours of sleep is like functioning with a blood alcohol level of .02. It's especially dangerous for teenagers.

"American teenagers are getting 5-6 hours and one of the chief issues we have with children and youngsters driving is them falling asleep at the wheel. It's the largest killer among young kids."

Sleep is a debt that can't be repaid and sleeping in over the weekend isn't going to cut it.

"The three hours per night cannot make up the three or four hours lost every night from Monday through Friday," said Dr. Torch. "It's about 20 hours of lost sleep during the week. That's almost a full day's sleep."

Sleep deprivation is a mental game. You can trick your mind to shift your internal clock, using light.

"The light going into your eye through the retina sends neurotransmitters to the brain and electrical signals that makes that melatonin release."

You're the most tired when the melatonin releases, which is usually around 2-4 in the morning and in the afternoon. To shift your sleep schedule, go to bed an hour earlier than usual this weekend and turn off those electronics.