Switching Clocks Can Wreak Havoc on our Sleep Patterns

 |   |  Daylight Saving Time Daylight Savings sleep sleep deprivation sleep problems Spring Forward

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Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend and sleep experts say so will disruptions in sleep patterns. "Springing ahead can cause all sorts of problems for people including loss of sleep or accumulation of sleep debt and adjustment in the circadian clock making it harder to fall asleep at night," says Dr. Charles Samuels, the Medical Director of Calgary's Centre for Sleep and Human Performance. He suggests people should make sure to get enough sleep on the weekend and go to bed later for a few nights after the weekend to minimize sleep disruptions related to the time change.

Dr. Samuels is an expert on the effect of sleep deprivation and disruption on human health and human performance. Specifically, Dr. Samuels studies the effect of sleep on weight control and obesity, mood alteration and memory and concentration. He is a researcher studying elite athletes to examine the relationship of sleep to recovery and performance. The project is funded by "Own the Podium".

Dr. Samuels is also the lead investigator in a long term study with the Calgary Police Service to explore the impact of rotating shift work on health and performance of police officers. The project is part of a North American collaboration including Harvard University, New York State University Buffalo and Washington State University.

The Centre for Sleep and Human Performance is one of Canada's most sophisticated Sleep Centre's and Diagnostic Sleep Laboratories. Problems with sleep are among the most common complaints voiced by patients to their physician. The CSHP treats a broad range of sleep problems from people struggling with shift workers, snoring or weight problems.

As North Americans push the limits of human capacity and attempt to cope with the demands of a 24/7 society, physicians are seeing the emergence of new epidemics that can be linked to a lack of quality sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other medical conditions.

Don't just dream of a better sleep. Actually have one.

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