By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday November 3, 2012
End of Daylight Saving Time fills insomniacs with dread
The end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend mostly brings an extra hour’s sleep to a sleep-deprived society — but actually hurts the people who need sleep most.
This is the night when people with insomnia suffer even more than usual, then have to listen to their friends and family talk about how refreshing it is to catch up on sleep.
This paradox comes from the fall ritual of turning back the clock one hour. At 2 a.m. Sunday we officially move back to 1 a.m., adding one hour to the night.
In effect, we create a single 25-hour day, to be balanced out by a 23-hour day next spring.
For a society that tends to stay up too late at night, this is a bonus: just this once you can fall asleep at midnight, get up at 7 a.m., and still get eight hours’ sleep.
But for an insomniac, it’s the same poor-quality sleep as usual, followed by a day with an extra hour of being awake. In addition, it upsets their “circadian rhythm,” the mental cycle of day and night that tends to operate poorly to begin with in people with insomnia.
“Where people are normally getting an extra hour of sleep or sleep opportunity, for someone with insomnia this could actually be worse,” says Dr. Elliott Lee, a sleep expert at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. (Source: Ottawa Citizen)