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Children and adolescents should prepare for the time change
After the changeover from winter to summer time on the coming Sunday, many people will have difficulty sleeping again and develop a kind of "mini jet lag". Children and adolescents are particularly affected, stresses sleep researcher Gerhard Klösch from the University Clinic for Neurology at MedUni Vienna. The expert therefore advises you to prepare for the time change in advance.
With the changeover of the clocks from winter to summer time next Sunday (2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.), we lose one hour of our normal sleep time. Many people do not feel this “mini jetlag” at all, but children and adolescents should be prepared for the change, the Vienna sleep researcher warns. Because young people are most affected by the changeover.
Young people with a higher need for sleep
From a purely physiological point of view, an increased susceptibility to problems with postponing sleep time can already be found in young people, the expert reports. “By the age of 10, we need between ten and eleven hours of restful sleep, as adolescents around nine hours. Only then are seven hours sufficient, ”said Klösch. Scientific studies have shown that switching to summer time effectively costs children and adolescents 32 minutes of sleep. This minus can drag on and accumulate daily for two weeks, the sleep researcher emphasizes.
Smartphones exacerbate the problem
The effect is often exacerbated by the use of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. “The problem is that digital devices rob sleep with their blue light. It would therefore be important to plan mobile-free periods in the evening at least four or five days beforehand and, if possible, to go to bed half an hour earlier, ”explains Gerhard Klösch. For children and adolescents, the shift in sleep time could have significant consequences. Because, unlike older people, young people still have a deep sleep phase in the morning, explains the expert. The later they go to sleep, the later this deep sleep phase comes.
Interrupted deep sleep phase
If the children and adolescents are woken up in the middle of their morning deep sleep phase due to the time difference, according to the researchers, they are like drunkenness. This also increases the risk of accidents in road traffic. Even at "normal" times, the children and adolescents would build up an enormous "sleep pressure" during the course of the week, which would then discharge many people with sleep until midday on the weekend, reports Klösch. About one in three people need an alarm clock in the morning to go to kindergarten or school.
Stress intolerance and low performance
In addition, most young people, from a chronobiological point of view, are still “evening people”, explains the Vienna sleep researcher. By switching to summer time, the already existing sleep deficit is further exacerbated and causes stress intolerance and a low performance. An effect that, according to the expert, should also be aware of the teachers. "Tests on Monday after the changeover are therefore not particularly advisable or unfair," said Klösch.
Far-reaching consequences of daytime sleepiness
According to the expert, sleepiness and daytime sleepiness are generally a far-reaching problem in adolescents. A recent British study has shown that adolescents who are generally more tired not only become conspicuous at school, but also increasingly show problems in the social fabric later on. York York scientists used York crime statistics to show “15-year-olds who were constantly tired and strained in their social behavior had a criminal risk later, when 29-year-olds were at 4.5 times higher risk become"; reports Klösch.
Abolish the time change
The sleep researcher emphasizes that changing the time - whether from winter to summer or vice versa - is generally no longer up to date and unnecessary. Because the human organism automatically adapts to the natural rhythm of light anyway. “As soon as it gets light earlier, we adapt. We don't need to change the time. Light is an optimal timer, ”says Klösch. According to him, it would be fundamentally better to stick to one time. (fp)