Dr. Aarthi Raghavan, DMD

The Tug-O-War Between Our Sleep and Daylight Savings

Felt like the recent time change has affected your mood, sleep, appetite and just about every facet of your daily life? You are not alone! Millions of Americans feel this way every year during the switch to the DST (daylight savings time) and back to the Standard Time. 

Daylight savings is the practice of setting the clock ahead by an hour during the Spring. The proponents of the system cite energy conservation and savings as the main reason behind this change since late spring and summer months typically have longer days.

The practice has been followed in many states in the United States since 1966, but some states like parts of Arizona, Hawaii and US territories like Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands do not follow DST.

Many people love the DST concept and many others absolutely hate it. But, for years, proponents of healthy sleep have voiced their opinion on this, in that it has shown to affect our circadian rhythm and cause consequent issues with our sleep.

What is the circadian rhythm? We are endowed with a natural internal clock that decides our wakefulness and sleep. There are several steps that happen in a staggered fashion (what a wonderful thing, the human body is!) to help us go to sleep and vice versa.

This circadian rhythm is highly impacted by the presence of natural light and typically follows the pattern although bright artificial lights are now known to impact our sleep wakefulness cycle (Hello cellphones at 9 PM!)

The apparent and sudden disruption of moving to DST in Spring, and reversing it back in fall, even though by an hour can significantly affect the circadian rhythm. Many people find that they are more tired in the mornings and active until later during the DST shift, causing periods of Insomnia. The problems can happen while switching back to Standard time as well, since the body does not love inconsistency!

Experts have advocated for the revocation of this change for a long time; however, proponents believe that it leads to energy efficiencies and improvement. Many states have considered switching to one standard time.

We do not know how legislations are going to change in the future but here are a few things we can do to ensure a healthy sleep, despite the DST and standard time, flip-flop:

  • Get to bed and wake up at the same time
  • Avoid large meals closer to bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least 6 hours before bed time.
  • Maintain a healthy exercise regimen
  • Spend time outdoors whenever possible (close to natural daylight, even having your office space near a large window, helps!)
  • Get 7-7.5 hours of sleep each night.

In other news–Tongue ties can impact your breathing:

Tongue tie (Medically called Ankyloglossia) is the condition in which the attachment of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is greater than a normal attachment, restricting the range of motion of the tongue.

Research has shown that early tongue tie in children also impacts the direction of the cranio-facial growth. Our body tends to grow and develop based on the functions that it performs (think of kids who play basketball, and how they typically tend to grow taller). A restricted range of motion can cause:

  • Difficulty with feeding in an infant
  • Discomfort to the nursing mother
  • Underdevelopment of the swallowing reflex 
  • Aversion to textured food
  • Change in the growth pattern of Oro-facial bones like palate, mandible etc.
  • Delayed speech pattern
  • Difficulty enunciating words
  • Contributing to airway, sleep and breathing disorders (in children and adults)
  • Contributing to TMD disorders

The process of recognizing ankyloglossia is straight forward for an Oro-facial expert, early recognition and treatment, which is virtually painless with the use of LASERS in surgery can be life changing for the growth and development in children, but can also contribute to improved quality of breathing in adults and better success rates for management of obstructive Sleep Apnea. 

Know of anyone who we can help? Don’t forget to share our phone number. Call us at 630-355-7400.

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