Transcript for Setting clocks back as daylight saving time ends
First we have a "Gma" health alert this morning, something to think about when you set your clocks back tonight as daylight saving time ends. Believe it or not, getting that extra hour of sleep can have a downside. Stephanie Ramos has the story. Reporter: Here's the deal when it comes to daylight saving time this weekend. The bad news is it's going to get darker much earlier. The good news, for one day we get an extra hour of sleep. Historically daylight saving has been around since World War I. It was started to make better use of daylight helping to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. It became a federal law in 1966. The government saying it saves lives by preventing traffic accidents and reducing crime as more people are out and about during daylight. There is some debate, though. Some people believe it promotes safety by having greater daytime hours. On the other hand, it worsens health. Reporter: Today eight months of the year are in daylight time and four months are in standard time, and while you set the clocks back Sunday morning and get an extra hour of sleep, it may not be as good for you as you think. It may take five to seven days to get used to that one-hour change. Chronic sleep deprivation for instance increases levels of certain hormones promoting obesity and high blood pressure and heart attacks. Reporter: Experts also say when people who are tired drive, they are more likely to crash their car. So use this extra hour as a start to a healthy new sleep schedule. This fallback is not just a fallback in time. It should be a fallback into good sleep hygiene and good sleep habits. Our thanks to Stephanie Ramos there. Dr. Jen Ashton joins us from Massachusetts. Dr. Ashton, always a pleasure to have you talking about this. There's been a lot of debate about whether moving the clocks forward or back is good for us or is it bad for us? Does it really matter medically? Well, some people either dread it, some people look forward to this weekend with some glee or joy. The medical data is kind of all over the place. There are some studies that show a little bit of associated increase in heart attacks, strokes, symptoms of depression, even car accidents in the fallback time period. And it's all about our body's circadian rhythms, those are our internal clocks. Believe it or not, even one hour one way or another can make a difference. Some parts of the country governments are even debating whether or not to have it. What are some tips for people who may have trouble adjusting in the next few days here? So here are my tips, whit. First of all, you want to try to use the natural light and dark cues to kind of communicate with your body. Also getting some morning exercise even if it's just a brief walk can definitely help. Really be careful with caffeine and alcohol during this next week because, again, sometimes that can throw off your body's circadian rhythms and you really want to listen to your body. If you feel really tired in the next couple of days, take a little bit of a catnap but listen to your body's cues. Or listen to your body overall, though. What should we be doing to improve our sleep habits altogether? You've heard me say it before, we have to prioritize sleep. Adults again need an average of seven to nine hours a night, teenagers, eight to ten. You want to keep your bedroom environment cold, dark and quiet. And avoid anything with a screen before you're trying to go to bed. Very tough to do. Dr. Ashton, thank you very much. We truly appreciate it. Talk to you soon.
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