That extra hour of sleep that comes with the end of daylight saving time Sunday will feel like a blessing to many adults.
But for parents of youngsters who are up at 6 a.m. because they think it's still really 7 a.m., and for folks with sleep disturbances, the change can feel more like a curse.
Dr. Lisa Martin, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System and mom of a 4-year-old, knows all about the daylight saving adjustment for youngsters. While she tries to keep her daughter on a regular schedule during the week leading up to the change, she said, some parents like to make small changes beforehand, putting their kids to bed a little later, to ease into the new time.
The start of daylight saving in the spring, which in 2012 will be March 11, can be even harder on parent and school-age child.
"Their bodies won't think it's time to go to bed, and then they're forced up by the school schedule to get up at the same time," said Martin, who said parents can try putting their kids to bed a little earlier each night for a week before the time change.
"I think for children it really depends on how sensitive they, especially the younger ones, are to being overtired," said Martin. "So if you have a child who really needs to go to sleep when they are tired, making them stay up for an hour the first day after (the change) will be a challenge."
Sleep experts agree that the time changes can be minor annoyances for most adults but that for people with insomnia or seasonal affective disorder, the fall time change can be difficult.
"Light is one of the strongest indications to our brain to be awake, so definitely people can complain of increased sleepiness because of less hours of light in wintertime," said Dr. Mari Viola-Saltzman, a neurologist and sleep expert at Loyola.
"We do know there's a lot of consequences of sleep deprivation in general," said Viola-Saltzman.
Various studies have shown increased traffic accidents following the start and end of daylight saving time in the spring and fall, a small rise in heart attacks following the spring time change and an increase in pedestrian accidents following the fall change.
"The end of daylight saving time has a significant impact if you look at some of the studies," said Dr. Richard Kern, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. Kern said it was a matter of darkness coming sooner in the evening and people being more tired.
Kern said that the change can be a challenge for the many snooze-deprived people in society but that adjusting sleep and awakening times, as well as sleeping in a dark, quiet room without electronic devices, can help people adapt.
"People kind of think they get an extra hour of sleep in the morning, but they tend to stay up later because they think they're going to sleep later the next morning," Kern said.
Dr. Lisa Shivers, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine, said the fall change can trigger circadian rhythm troubles because of the reduced light. Circadian rhythm encompasses the physical, mental and behavioral changes that react to light and darkness during a 24-hour cycle.
She said people in their 20s can have trouble with their sleep and the time changes because they are used to staying out until the wee hours of the morning. Adjusting their sleep schedule and keeping lights low a few hours before bed can help, she said.
"They do a lot worse in the winter because they don't have the same good opportunities to have light cues," Shivers said.
For elderly people who may start going to bed too early when it gets dark earlier in the fall, Shivers suggests turning on all the lights in the house several hours before retiring and "build stimulating activities into your evening."
"If you have a tendency toward insomnia, watch out," said Shivers. "You're about to go into a turn for the worse unless you get proactive."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times