Experts: Daylight saving time can impact mental health

Daylight saving time impacts

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As the country turned its clocks forward an hour over the weekend for daylight saving time, many may still be trying to adjust to the new sleep schedule.

Experts said this can impact a person’s health more than they think.

Physicians at Nationwide Children’s Hospital said they notice several changes in sleeping patterns around daylight saving time, which can particularly affect patients with a mental health diagnosis.

For example:

  • Children and teens with bipolar disorder often sleep less when maniac, or hypomanic. In certain cases, changes in the circadian rhythm of a person with bipolar disorder can cause a manic episode, which can be triggered by the change in time.
  • Depression may make it more difficult for a child to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Teens with anxiety often struggle with insomnia because their innate anxiety makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
  • Children with autism tend to sleep one to two hours less than other children their age, and they also wake up earlier. Still, researchers currently do not know the cause of this trend.
  • In some patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stimulant medications can cause “rebound hyperactivity” close to bedtime, making it difficult for them to fall asleep.

Natasha Mero, a sleep technician at Palmetto Sleep Labs LLC, said if a person doesn’t get enough sleep, it can affect pretty much any part of their day.

“It can affect memory issues, it can affect alertness, mood. Sometimes people don’t get enough sleep, they can be depressed, help you concentrate. It definitely can affect driving," Mero said. "A lot of people can get in accidents if they don’t get enough sleep. We’ve seen several people come into the sleep lab where they fall asleep at the wheel because they’re not getting enough sleep at night, or get in a fender bender or fall asleep at a stop sign.”

Mero compared daylight saving time to jetlag. Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health experts suggest maintaining good sleep hygiene for better quality sleep:

  • Devices like phones, tablets or televisions are turned off or removed from the bedroom. An alternative is listening to calming sounds.
  • Do not eat heavy meals before bed. A light, healthy snack is acceptable.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages eight hours before bedtime.
  • Keep bedrooms dark and cool with comfortable bedding.
  • Do not exercise right before bed.

Carolina Sleep Society will be hosting its 2019 Spring Sleep Conference on May 9 and May 10 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, located at 3200 S. Ocean Blvd., in Myrtle Beach. For more information, click here.

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