As reported by the Middletown Press, April 2, 2005.

Daylight Saving Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

By Abram Katz

Preparing for daylight saving time is a little like getting ready for a natural disaster.

Lash down the light boxes, hoist the shades, toss the caffeine, skip the nightly highball and turn up the clock radio.

We all lose an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday. Precisely at 2 o’clock, it’s 3 o’clock.

So there’s one less hour of shuteye in a nation of sleep-deprived sloths.

The result: More sleepiness behind the wheel. Less attention in class. More bookkeeping errors. And an even grumpier mood all around.

So get ready, sleep experts suggest.

A blast of bright light Sunday morning will help reset the cranky clock in your head.

An electric light with a sun-like spectrum will work.

No lightbox? Then simply radiate your face with 30 minutes of sunlight between 7 and 9 a.m.

"Daylight saving time is the bad one," said Dr. Daniel McNally, director of the sleep disorder center at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

American adults already average 6.9 hours of sleep a night, and the normal human requires 7 to 9 hours, he said.

That’s probably how people slept before light bulbs and sodium vapor provided enough artificial daylight to spread human activity around the clock, McNally said.

There’s a surprisingly easy way to tell if you’re getting enough sleep, he said. Lean back and close your eyes. If you immediately enter dreamland, you’re sleep deprived.

Consider fourth-graders. When they’re bored, they fidget. They don’t nod off like college students at an art history lecture.

"Fourth graders are the last well-rested group," McNally said.

Soon after that kids stay up later staring into computers, and adults steal sleep time for other activities like jobs, shopping, entertainment and late-night television.

"We have a very sleepy country. The pace of life has increased. Many folks have poor quality sleep," said Dr. Rochelle Turestsky, physician at Gaylord Hospital sleep services.

Some of the somnolent suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome, restless leg syndrome, or obstructive sleep apnea, she said.

Many more have messed up the mechanism that keeps them awake and asleep at the right times.

This cycle is governed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a group of nerves behind the eyeballs.

Early birds and nighthawks are probably hardwired from birth, she said.

To reset the clock, (which can be a challenge), get up at the same time every morning and seek sunshine, Turestsky said.

Morning lumens tell the suprachiasmatic nucleus to encourage sleep at night.

Avoid bright lights in the afternoon. That sends the clock the wrong message.

Keep in mind that caffeine lingers for 14 hours and that alcohol disrupts sleep.

Do everything right and you should acclimate to daylight saving in a few days, Turestsky said.