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Dodging Drowsiness
When the Clock Falls Back

Experiencing the end of daylight savings time can be like a mild case of jet lag -- only you don't end up in Paris.

Since our bodies work on biological clocks set to the sun, the hour change throws off our normal rhythms, says Michael Smolensky, a University of Texas biology professor and author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.

The good news is that losing the hour in the spring is harder on your body rhythms than gaining the hour in October because your day is shortened. Smolensky says it takes about three or four days to adjust to the spring time change, but only a day to adjust to the fall. By the way, daylight savings time ends Sunday.

The effects for most people, while not as disruptive as those that accompany jet lag, are nevertheless bothersome -- a general lassitude and trouble falling asleep and waking up at the desired times for a day or so.

"Children, elderly people and those who are sleep-deprived anyway have a harder time," says Smolensky.

Remedies? Smolensky suggests trying the following:

  • If you know you have trouble changing your sleep patterns, get a head start on the time change. In the fall, start going to bed and getting up later a few days before the clocks change.
  • Take brisk exercise at the end of the day and a relaxing bath in the evening to cool down the body.
  • Try not to take your worries to bed.

More information

To find out what time it is in different cities all over the world, go to World Clock Time Zones.


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