Saving Daylight, Losing Sleep

by Sarah B.

Daylight Saving, the time of year when we shift our clocks back one hour, making the sun rise later in the morning and set later at night. Losing this hour, our bodies eventually adapt to the changes, however, our sleep cycles take the biggest hit. 

“Our bodies love structure,” said Duxbury High School psychology teacher Mr. Auckerman, “for those already sleep deprived, the loss of an extra hour is really detrimental.”

Elongating the amount of time it takes for us to wake up and fall asleep truly disrupts our circadian rhythms, creating a misalignment within our bodies. When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies crave it more. Due to this, those who are sleep deprived often have low energy and struggle to get through their day. 

Shedding some insight, Duxbury High School psychologist Mrs. Ryan believes that people don’t understand how much sleep throws them off. 

“It’s especially hard for high school kids,” she said “because the best thing you can do is have a good sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene.” 

When losing an hour of sunlight during the Spring, the amount of sunlight people receive decreases significantly and as a result, their Vitamin D does as well. Sunlight, providing the vitamin that improves our mood, is reduced when shifting our clocks. Due to this yearly shift, many are affected by what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood disorder identified by depression that happens at the same time each year. 

With the changes in their schedules, a lot of high school students tend to struggle with balancing their time with their long list of activities. In terms of adjusting their schedules to improve their amount of sleep, Mrs. Ryan said that “it is kind of unrealistic to think high school kids are going to do this all the time,just because of the demands and their lifestyle.” 

Being used to doing certain things at certain times each day every week, we eventually build a daily routine. As we shift the time, there is a period in between our old and new schedules where our bodies adjust to the new timing of when we do certain activities. “We don’t often give ourselves time,” said Mr. Auckerman.  

When asked about the impact of Daylight Savings on the numbers of students reaching out for help, Mrs. Ryan said that she has been inundated with kids right now. 

“It could be the end of the term too,” she said, “there are so many other stressors so it’s hard to say that it’s just Daylight Savings”. 

She advises students who struggle with falling asleep earlier to get into a nice bedtime ritual by shutting down technology earlier, taking a warm shower, reading, or having some tea. 

“It can be really helpful in terms of helping your sleep routine and feeling a little bit regulated in terms of your sleep cycles.”

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