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Sleep Expert Compares ‘Spring Forward’ Effects To Jet Lag

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Dr. Michael A. Grandner. (Credit: University of Pennsylvania Health System)

Dr. Michael A. Grandner. (Credit: University of Pennsylvania Health System)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s no doubt that many of us are still walking around sluggishly as a result of moving our clocks ahead an hour this weekend. Experts say it’s not something to take lightly.

AAA Midatlantic spokesperson Jenny Robinson says, “The statistics are really concerning. About 17 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, so it is a really serious safety concern.”

Robinson says you need to go to sleep earlier until your body adjusts to the change, plus you need to be more alert in the morning, as it will stay darker until the days become longer.

Dr. Michael Grandner, an instructor in psychiatry and a sleep specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,  likens the fatigue you feel to crossing a time zone in flight: “Our ability to focus, our ability to stay focused and react will decrease.  You may not notice it right away, until something goes wrong, in terms of driving or doing anything else where safety is really important and we need to stay alert.”

He says this time change is aggravated by the fact that many of us do not get the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis, which means these time changes have a more significant impact on us.

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