Time change means an extra hour of sleep… or does it? U of M researcher explains

There’s a time change this weekend, meaning that — in theory — you’ll get an extra hour of sleep when you change your clocks back an hour this Sunday.

According to a University of Manitoba sleep researcher, however, whether a person can take advantage of the extra hour over the daylight savings time change or not is more complicated than simply pressing a button on your alarm.

“We’re into that season where we’re changing our clocks and it’s ‘fall back,’ which means we put our clocks back an hour, and essentially feel like we’re able to stay up an hour later,” said associate prof Diane McMillan.

“While we feel like we should be able to get an extra hour of sleep, that’s not always the case for everybody.”

Read more: Coronavirus anxiety keeping you up? Winnipeg sleep consultant has some tips

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McMillan told 680 CJOB that people have a strong circadian rhythm — sort of like our own internal clock — that helps us go to bed at a certain time and get up at a certain time. That internal clock, however, doesn’t know about the time change.

“This weekend, we’re changing those clocks and we’re going to be staying up a little later, but our body doesn’t know we’ve reset the clocks.

“Come morning time, we may not actually be able to sleep in that extra hour,” she said.

McMillan’s advice is to ease into the change — move the timing of your dinner and bedtime by 15 minutes each day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so by Sunday, you’ve shifted a full hour, making your body more in tune with the new schedule.

“It’s really important that we think about and prioritize our sleep health, especially now during the pandemic,” she said.

“As a society, we’re not doing a great job of prioritizing sleep.

“Be also aware that since you might not actually get that full required amount of sleep when you’re transitioning from the time change, you may be a little more tired… and you may be tired over a few days.”

Click to play video 'Time to pull the plug on time change, suggests Winnipeg sleep expert' Time to pull the plug on time change, suggests Winnipeg sleep expert

Time to pull the plug on time change, suggests Winnipeg sleep expert

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