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March 8, 2019


ThedaCare Physician Offers Tips to Help You Spring Forward

March 8, 2019


ThedaCare Physician Offers Tips to Help You Spring Forward                     

MENASHA, Wis – Daylight Saving Time goes into effect on Sunday, March 10. While many of us look forward to that “extra” hour of daylight each evening, our bodies pay a bigger price than we may realize.

“Sleep is an important factor in keeping our bodies and minds healthy,” said Dr. Bryan Roberts, MD, family medicine practitioner at ThedaCare Physicians-Menasha. “When something disrupts our sleep pattern, we should try to reduce those effects as much as possible. Something as seemingly simple as adjusting clocks one hour ahead or back factors in more than we might realize.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it takes about one week to adjust to new sleep/waking times. Numerous sleep specialists estimate that many people lose 40 to 50 minutes of sleep per night in the first few days setting the clocks an hour ahead in spring. That’s a significant loss, especially in a society that’s already considered sleep deprived.

Human bodies develop a natural circadian rhythm – essentially an internal 24-hour clock that runs in the background of our brain, Dr. Roberts explained. That rhythm is influenced by several factors, including timing of exposure to light and darkness, times of eating, exercise and work.

“When that rhythm is disturbed by a time change (or cross-country travel), our bodies suffer consequences,” said Dr. Roberts. “We experience more sleep disruptions, less quality sleep time and a reduction in performance during the day.”

Teenagers are especially affected by time shifts. A 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that teens lost significant sleep after the spring time change and showed increased sleepiness, delayed reaction times and more lapses in attention on subsequent days. It also noted an increase in teen driving accidents in the days after the time change.

Experts have suggestions for teens and adults to help their body’s circadian rhythm adjust:

• Be well rested; in the days leading up to the time change, get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night.

• Go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier, starting about three nights before the time change.

• Adjust other daily activities that are “time cues”; for example, eat dinner a little earlier; adjust your exercise schedule.

• Avoid electronic screens – computers, tablets, phones – for the last hour before going to bed.

• On the Saturday night of the time change, set your clocks ahead early in the evening and then go to bed at your regular time.

• On Sunday morning, get outside for some early morning sunlight.

Infants and small children also are greatly affected by the time change. It’s especially important to begin to adjust their eating and sleeping schedules a few days before the time switch to make the process less traumatic for them and their caretakers.

No matter your age, though, the good news is that the effects of the time change will go away over the course of the first week or so.

“We should make small changes when it comes to Daylight Saving Time,” said Dr. Roberts. “Be sure you and your family are well rested in the days leading up to the time change and be conscious of efforts, such as changing eating schedules to help your body adjust. Then get outside and enjoy those daylight hours, if it isn’t too cold!”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.