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The Affects of Daylight Savings on Teens

Daylight Savings Time Is Here
We've moved our clocks forward and the days will be getting longer. How do these changes affect our teens? Here are the top findings from a small teen sleep study:
  1. Teens loose sleep! This may seem obvious, but the study showed "the average objectively measured sleep duration on the weeknights after the spring time change declined to 7 hours, 19 minutes, which reflects a mean loss of 32 minutes per night compared with the school week prior to the implementation of daylight saving time. Average cumulative sleep loss on weeknights following the time change was 2 hours, 42 minutes."
  2. Teens displayed a decline in psychomotor vigilance.
  • Longer reaction times.
  • Increase in lapses of attention.
  • "During school days after the time change, students also displayed increased sleepiness and a decline in psychomotor vigilance, including longer reaction times and increased lapses of attention."
Study Conclusion, "The early March DST onset adversely affected sleep and vigilance in high school students resulting in increased daytime sleepiness."
Suggestions to Help Cope with the Changes
  • Take a walk. Exposing yourself to natural light during waking hours helps maintain your internal clock.
  • Reduce exposure to light during the evening. Once you are ready for bed, reduce your exposure to unnatural light (cell phone screens, televisions, etc.).
  • Ensure you maintain positive sleep hygiene. Reduce caffeine intake prior to bedtime, exercise several hours before bedtime, and create calming rituals to relax yourself prior to bedtime.

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