Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Don’t Lose Sleep over Daylight Savings Time

by Guest Blogger Donna Wilson

In most of the country, Sunday marks an annual ritual: setting our clocks ahead for the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST). When we “spring forward,” many of us lose an hour of sleep. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to give up that 60 extra minutes of snooze time—on the first day of DST or on any other day.

If you don’t think that one hour of sleep deprivation is a big deal, consider this: Experts have identified the Monday after DST as a vulnerable time for traffic accidents. This tie between adequate sleep and overall alertness underscores just how important sleep is to proper functioning in general.

As we report in our book, Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement By As Much as 30 Percent, lack of sleep has a significant impact on cognitive processes. Most adults require a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep per night, while children and teenagers need even more.

We also cite research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, suggesting that sleep "quality" is just as important as quantity. The research indicates that students who maintain regular and predictable sleep schedules with fewer interruptions perform better in school than those who have irregular schedules and have difficulty staying asleep.

Sleep is an integral component of the Body-Brain System. For example, have you ever studied something during the day and not quite understood it, then awoke the next day to find that your mind now clearly comprehends what alluded you the day before?

When you sleep, many of your conscious processes are taken "off-line," allowing your unconscious processes to sort and store the learning experiences of your day. In addition, sleep allows you to rest and rejuvenate, then awaken refreshed to take on the challenges of the new day.

So, when you worry that there’s not enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do, just remember: Trying to stretch your time by depriving yourself of sleep is a trade-off that will slow you down. Get enough sleep, then rise ready to tackle the challenges of the day. You may be surprised by how much you are able to accomplish!


American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2009, June 15). Better sleep is associated with improved academic success. ScienceDaily.

Donahue, P., & Dillon, N. (2013, March 8). Watch out! Experts says car crashes spike on the Monday after daylight savings time goes into effect. New York Daily News.

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