Spring forward, fall asleep


Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

This weekend, most Americans will follow the annual ritual of setting their clocks ahead one hour—and lose an hour of sleep in the process. We pay for it on Monday.

According to sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler, U.S. researchers have seen increases of 6% to 17% in motor vehicle crashes on the Mondays after we set our clocks forward. Data collected over a 20-year period in Sweden shows a 5% increase in heart attacks during the week that follows the start of Daylight Saving Time.

Czeisler, who is chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was speaking on a Webcast called “Fighting the Clock: How America’s Sleep Deficit is Damaging Long-term Health,” produced by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Panelist Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, explained that people who are sleep deprived tend to have less healthy diets than those who get enough sleep. Work by Hu and others has also linked sleep deprivation to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Lucian Leape, an internationally recognized leader of the patient safety movement, described the slowly dawning realization that sleep deprivation among doctors contributes to errors in medical care.

A fourth panelist, Dr. Susan Redline, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, called sleep a “complex neurophysiologic process” that enhances learning and memory and restores and rejuvenates the brains. Unfortunately, at least 30% of adults and 70% of adolescents don’t get enough sleep at night.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make us groggy. In adults, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis increases the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease. In children, it can lead to doing poorly in school, behavioral problems, prediabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, said Redline.

If you are interested in sleep and the long-lasting effects of not getting enough sleep, the “Fighting the Clock” Webcast is definitely worth watching.

As for this weekend, you can try to recoup the lost hour by going to bed earlier, sleeping later, or taking a nap. And be careful driving on Monday!



  1. Sean

    Thanks for the link to the “Fighting the Clock” Webinar – amazing panel and great content.

  2. sarah

    helpful and interesting information, improving sleep quality also related for safety and health quality of our daily life, even as we know nowadays, sleep disorders is common issue/problem.

  3. Neil

    Fully agreed with the article content. Having proper sleep is the prime requirement for a healthy body. One must have at least 7-8 hrs sleep in complete day. For this you must have proper time management. You must schedule all your activities in a proper way so that you can have the required amount of sleep in the day, not only scheduling time will give you results, but you have to execute this scheduling too in an effective manner. Time management is not like doing food management or water management, it’s very much different and needs proper attention and planning.

  4. George

    Finding this post has slveod my problem

  5. Alan

    The Silence Aided with Reiki
    Look for noiseless retreats on the internet and you will find 100s and 100s – , Vedanta, Quaker, Lutheran, Catholic, Buddhist. It appears that each and every spiritual convention encourages all of us to be motionless for a period, in order to quieten the countless chatter associated with the surface area of your mind and listen to your entire body to the silence. . . well, what we tend to be listening for depends on the actual tradition, however in order to promote a perception of focusing back to the inside.
    In Reiki we are motivated from very first degree on to “listen to each of our hands” listen closely to our hearts. And if you practice for sufficient length, Reiki, it seems, will certainly call you to silence.
    One particular part of silence is actually not speaking, permitting the mind settle directly into a much deeper place, leading all of us to explore meditation.
    The real substance associated with spiritual development is actually not really within books. It is actually the subject matter associated with the self . . . silence is a cavern through which the spirit must travel, clearing out the dissonance associated with life as we go. Without the clamour, we can hear what is going on inside of ourselves.
    Silence facilitates the practice of Reiki. With hands and body we pay attention intently to the rhythm of the energetic flow. In silence we can observe our own thought processes burbling up as well, observing exactly how and the reason why we all worry or really feel anger. Experiencing whenever kindness, gratitude, as well as honor arises. When we listen in the actual silence associated with Reiki, we understand ourselves much better, and also all of us understand the particular individual that we are treating.
    Speaking demands an incredible energy and generally there is actually safety within silence. When we are not really conversing, we are generally not necessarily telling stories in order to impress one, as well as not necessarily defending ourselves with words. We do not have to be anybody. The greater and lengthier the actual silence, the more we can associate without pretence or masks.
    By means of silence as well as sharing with each other within the community, our appreciation of Reiki develops.
    With the help of Reiki, in today’s hastened stressful exsistance, it is important that we also take some time each day for ourselves, to create the silence, even if only for a few Minutes.

  6. Dr. Crystal Walters

    Very interesting article. The mind is constantly taking cues from the environment. It is so easy to change the physical clock on the wall forward but the mental clock in our head doesn’t work that way. I do believe that there is an increase in accidents on Monday morning!

  7. Paul Weaver

    I came across this article while doing some research on sleep deprivation. I find it very interesting (although not surprising) that when the clocks change there is such a boost in the number of motor vehicle accidents. Why is it that 70% of kids are not getting enough sleep? Maybe you can help me out with that. Also I have heard that 5 hours is enough sleep which is about what I am getting right now, but I steal feel sluggish through the day. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Crystal Walters

      Paul I wouldn’t doubt that five hours isn’t enough time for sleep, but are you counting the time that it takes to actually go to sleep? Some people get sleep but they don’t get rest. This means that while your eyes may be closed your mind may still be at work. If you go to sleep at 2am and have your alarm set to wake up at 7am, I serioulsy doubt that you got a full 5 hours of rest, if you take in account the time it took for your mind to shut off. Does this help?

  8. Anya

    I really appreciate about the facts you have said here that we can try to recoup the lost hour by going to bed earlier, sleeping later, or taking a nap.

  9. Interesting Facts

    I really didn’t know that U.S. researchers have seen increases of 6% to 17% in motor vehicle crashes on the Mondays after setting the clocks forward. I really appreciate about the facts you have said here that we can try to recoup the lost hour by going to bed earlier, sleeping later, or taking a nap.


  10. Martin Cerrudo

    Hello I wanted to congratulate you on this blog is the first time I go, greetings from Santa Fe, Argentina.

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