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How Daylight Saving Time affects your health

While losing an hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, but researchers say it actually can be detrimental to your health.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sunday is the start of Daylight Saving Time, also known as a time to spring forward. It's when we have set our clocks ahead one hour and give up an hour of sleep in the process.  While losing an hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, experts say it can affect your health.

According to Dr. Mohamed Saad at UofL Health, when we mess with our sleep routine, it's an added stress to our bodies. This can also affect your day-to-day functions, like memory issues, concentration, decrease in work performance, and more.

Not getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep every night that the majority of adults need can cause health issues like obesity, diabetes, metabolic problems.

Dr. Saad said that the older you get the harder it is to adapt to a changing sleep schedule. But he says there are ways you can prepare for the time change so you continue to get the sleep you need.

"The whole idea is preparing your circadian rhythm to adjust to the time and you need to do this in small increments," he said.

He suggests that a week before Daylight Saving Time begin to push your sleep time backward by one hour, so you maintain the same circadian rhythm as before.

By doing it in small increments by 15 or so minutes a day, you should be able to build up to that hour over a 4-5 day period and maintain it when Daylight Saving Time hits.

If you haven't had time to prepare, Dr. Saad said that's okay, just monitor your health for the days after the time change. While you may struggle for the first few days, your body should adjust in time.

RELATED: Catching up on sleep after daylight saving can be hard, here's why

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