29 Sep 2021

Covid-19: Lockdown could make adjusting to daylight saving more difficult - expert

From Morning Report, 7:56 am on 29 September 2021

A sleep expert says Auckland's Covid-19 lockdown may have made adjusting to daylight saving time harder for the city.

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The clocks wound forward on Sunday morning, meaning the entire country collectively lost an hour of sleep.

Massey University Sleep/Wake Research Centre senior lecturer Dr Karyn O'Keefe told Morning Report the best way to readjust to old patterns is to get as much light into your day as possible.

"One of the things with daylight savings is that we have a bit of misalignment between what our internal circadian body clock is telling us the time of day is and the external time of the sun.

"One of the things that we need to do is to reset our internal clock. The way to do that is to expose ourselves to plenty of daylight, and get lots of good morning light."

But that could be a challenge under lockdown.

"Restrictions on movements and working from home can make exposing ourselves to light more difficult," she said.

"So, that can mean that exposing ourselves to light can be more challenging and therefore adjusting to daylight savings can take longer than potentially it normally would."

Dr O'Keefe said bright light devices around bedtime are a no-no too, with the light interfering with our body clock right as we need to be going to sleep.

On the other end of the spectrum, she said there wasn't much evidence about changing the alarm to make it easier to get up, but if it works, it works.

"The science is still catching up with what some of the technology is doing, and we don't have a best type of alarm at the moment, it's probably also an individual choice.

"We probably find that some people prefer some types of alarms over others, and that's perfectly understandable considering how different sleep is for different people."