Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time To Spring Forward

Bodies don't 'spring ahead'


A bold prediction: A week from today you will be feeling sleepy, very sleepy.

You will have trouble getting out of bed. If you are a teenager, you will have even more trouble than usual. If you are an early-morning commuter, you may struggle to keep your eyes open as you drive along darkened streets.

What will trigger this mass bout of drowsy driving, this predictably mopey Monday? It will be the first weekday of daylight saving time — that once-a-year "spring ahead" that robs us of one hour of sleep (which is returned when clocks "fall back" in November).

It's just one hour, but experts in chronobiology — the study of our internal body clocks — say it takes most people several days to adjust. (The fall change also is disruptive, but less so.) One recent study from German researchers, published in the journal Current Biology, found that some habitual night owls have trouble getting enough sleep for weeks after the spring shift — which, in effect, demands that we all go to bed and get up an hour earlier.

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Meanwhile, those extra-foggy days next week may do us some good — if they remind us that when we mess with Mother Nature, she messes with us, too.

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