If you’re waking up groggy and exhausted, you’re not alone. An estimated 50 million to 70 million Americans have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.
For many, a good night’s sleep has been especially elusive during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the change from summer to fall could further impact sleep habits. That’s because, in addition to crisper air and changing leaves, fall also brings shorter days, a time change, and other factors that can negatively impact your sleep patterns, which in turn affect your reaction time, work, and overall health.
And while you may think that “falling back” and gaining an hour on November 7 will give you that extra sleep you’ve been craving, it’s not a cure-all. A study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews concluded there was “little evidence” of people getting extra sleep when clocks are adjusted for daylight saving time.
Dr. Daniel Barone, a neurologist and sleep medicine expert at the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, says that even if we do get a little extra shut-eye that night, it likely won’t be enough to erase our overall “sleep debt.”
“We as a society sleep one hour less than we did 100 years ago,” says Dr. Barone, whose book, Let’s Talk About Sleep: A Guide to Understanding and Improving Your Slumber, was released in 2018. “So we are still ‘behind the clock’ so to speak when it comes to being sleep deprived.”