How to cope with fall sleep shortage

- Between the “Fall Back” time change, and an election night that went on and on, you are probably more than a little tired right now.

And Dr. Ann Rogers, Ph.D RN, a sleep specialist and professor at the Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, says getting your sleep schedule and your body back on track will take a few days.

"It will take about a week for us to adjust to the time change, to feel more normal,” Rogers says.

The end of daylight savings time means we get an extra hour of sleep.

But, Rogers says most of us just stay up later, and don't take advantage of it, which can throw off our body's internal clock.

"Our circadian rhythm stays very stable,” says Rogers.  “But it isn't matching up to the clock time, where we're used to having it be light or dark. And, yes, an hour makes a big difference."

Rogers recommends shifting your bedtime -- in 15 minute increments --until your sleep schedule -- lines up with the clock.

We know sleep is really important to our physical and mental health.

And Rogers says sometimes after a time change, ER's will see a surge in heart attacks, though it is usually just temporary.

And the shorter days mean many of us a driving home after a long work day in the dark.

"We're more at risk for traffic accidents,” says Rogers. “Some people will come home to exercise and they can't exercise."

But, there is an upside to the time chance.

The light in the morning, though, is good for us,” says Rogers.  “If you're someone who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, it's a lot easier to get out of bed when it's light.

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