Have you made the transition to Day Light Savings time? Is your body clock all settled down, ready for summer hours? Are you a chirpy morning person, reminding the bleary eyed around you in bright and reasoned tones of the sparkling shiny gift of a “new” hour?
If you are like me, you are still working on getting in sync with the change. I try to prepare for the spring forward by doing the “early to bed and early to rise” thing for a few days in advance and naps if required for a few days afterward. Still, it takes my sleep patterns and mood a good two weeks or more to adjust once the clocks have changed and even then that lost hour haunts me like my own El Dorado of sleep until the “fall back” in November.
Up until now I have viewed this as an annual inconvenience, not a potential health issue. But this year, I have paid more attention to the health-related stories published alongside the usual reminders to change the clocks. Pardon the expression, but there are some real eye openers … not just for me but for the other estimated 40 million sleep deprived Americans out there.
For example, a Duke University study reports that that poor sleep causes more harm to women than to men. Popular coverage of the story for the most part relied on “Bad Sleepers: Women More Grumpy Than Men” type headlines, but the report indicates that the effects go far beyond mood. The study finds that while long term poor sleep harms cardiovascular health of both genders, the effect is much greater in women.
A study from the University of Colorado sheds additional light on the known link between lack of sleep and weight. Adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight, but the study suggests that just losing a few hours of sleep for a few nights can lead to an almost immediate weight gain. At least this effect appears equal in both men and women.
It turns out that sleep deprivation also contributes to car accidents, heart attacks, brain fog and can actually alter how your fat cells operate. Poor sleep, in fact, can significantly alter what your genes are doing, which helps explain this list of ill effects. Think about It … your poor sleep pattern is actually messing with your genes.
Do you get enough sleep? Does the clock change affect you? Do you feel like a nap? I certainly do.