Time change this weekend poses challenges

Published On: Nov 01 2012 06:51:57 PM EDT
Updated On: Nov 01 2012 06:58:12 PM EDT

Experts say it takes most people a full week to adjust to the time change.

The switch back this weekend to standard time will require adjustments for many of us.

Car accidents notoriously increase around the periods of time change.

Doctor Thomas Roth, director of sleep disorders at Henry Ford Hospital, explained the challenge.

"Sleep is a biological imperative. You have no choice about sleep, so the question isn't whether you can make up for lost sleep; the question is where will you make up for lost sleep. Will you make up for lost sleep that Sunday afterwards sitting in church? Will you make up your sleep driving in a car?" Roth said.

With nightfall arriving earlier, drivers should remember to be more watchful.

Also, children and pets get their clues from the sun, so their internal clocks will not adjust as easily.  If they accustomed at waking up at 8 a.m. they will likely awaken at 7 a.m. after the time change. 

Parents are advised to begin shifting a child's bedtime back by 15 minutes the day before the time change, gradually getting them used to going to bed earlier.

The children should stick to their regular daytime routine, but should not extend nap times.

Doctor Thomas Roth said parents can also expose them to light the first thing in the morning, to help reprogram their internal clock.

"If you want to to go to sleep earlier, light in the morning will make you go to sleep earlier," Roth said.

The bottom line for parents is that the extra hour of sleep they will get from Saturday into Sunday might be taken up with the time needed to help their child adjust to the time change.

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