In a recent interview, Dr. Chris Carruthers a sleep expert in Calgary Alberta cautioned that the transition into Daylight Saving Time (DST), or Summer Time, could severely disrupt our sleep cycle.
Dr. Carruthers noted that after the change we get more light at night when we try to fall asleep and less light when we try to wake up. The researcher explained that the minor switch can severely affect our daily rhythms including sleep cycle, eating, workout, and sexual activity.
The night before the change can confuse people and disrupt their typical activities scheduled for the weekend. As a result, the weekday routine is also disrupted as people will sleep 40 minute less due to the change.
Plus, the week following the switch comes with growing sleep debt which could take its toll on productivity and attention. Moreover, in that week there is always a spike in traffic accidents. Experts noted that most people should be fine by Wednesday, but more sensitive ones would have a hard time adjusting to DST the entire week.
Dr. Carruthers also underscored the importance of sleep in a society that is too busy to make time for sleep. The doctor recalled that in his young adulthood he was often sleep deprived due to his busy schedule. But when he was 38 years old he developed the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which left him without nearly eight years of strenuous work.
He said his recovery was incredibly slow. He had to re-teach himself to sleep well through meditation and relaxation methods. But that past experience helped him appreciate sleep and teach other people the importance of getting a full night’s rest.
Dr. Carruthers explained that sleep is important for health, energy levels, and a good aging. Plus, one’s emotional status is also affected by insufficient sleep. People who lack patience or are constantly irritable may be sleep deficient.
Furthermore, sleep has an influence on one’s weight. When we are tired, we are more likely to overlook our exercise routine and eat unhealthy foods. The phenomenon is tied to a sudden drop in the brain’s leptin levels which makes us crave unhealthy foods.
Sleep is also a powerful ally in boosting the immune system. A small trial showed that people who slept only seven hours or less at night where thrice as likely to get the flu as people who slept at least eight hours per night.
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