NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As people across the nation prepare to set the clocks back an hour, sleep experts say the new timing will allow individuals to follow a ‘healthier’ schedule.
On Sunday, at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time will officially be over, and Tennesseans will gain an extra hour of sleep.
Sleep experts say switching back to standard time is easier for the body to adapt to a new schedule.
Dr. Beth Malow, the Director of Vanderbilt University’s Sleep Division, said she encourages people to take advantage of that extra hour and go to bed when they usually would to avoid disrupting their sleep schedule.
“It’s easy to just reach for that Coke or that cup of coffee, or maybe start your happy hour early because it’s so dark and you’re feeling kind of gloomy, but really try to get some exercise, turn on the lights if you need to, get on your computer and get some of that blue light,” said Dr. Marlow, “Just try to get yourself through that late afternoon slump.”
Although it will get darker earlier, sleep experts say standard time follows a natural pattern and will provide greater health benefits by providing light in the morning and supporting melatonin levels.
“The healthiest choice would be on permeant standard time all year round,” said Dr. Malow, “I say that because we need our light in the morning to get us going and if we have too much light in the evening, which is what happens with permanent Daylight Saving- it could really interfere with our sleep, and we need to sleep well for our health.”
Dr. Malow says adopting a permanent change to Daylight Saving Time will be crucial to health and lead to less sunshine in the early morning hours.
“It would just make everything worse,” said Dr. Malow, “It would get worse in December and January, and it would be close to 8 a.m. before there would be any light and if you keep the clocks ahead by an hour it would almost be 9 or 10 in the morning before we actually get sunlight if we would go to permanent Daylight Saving Time.”
Tennessee is just one of many states looking to stay on Daylight Saving Time permanently — a potential legislative decision Dr. Malow says many experts are against.
“Tennessee is one of those states that has voted to go to permanent Daylight-Saving Time,” said Dr. Malow, “but Tennessee could opt out — like Hawaii and Arizona —and could go to permanent standard time all year round and I will strongly recommend that for our state particularly for the eastern parts of our state.”
Standard time will begin at 2 a.m., November 6, and lasts until March 12.