How the End of Daylight Saving Time Can Affect Health

Don't forget to turn back the clocks this weekend.

An extra hour of sleep can be a welcome respite for many people. But it can also disrupt normal sleep patterns, which puts strain on the body.

As a result of disturbed sleep, Friedlander said the body is put under stress. Sleep is an important part of health.

"It affects nearly every system in the body, so that's how it can lead to problems in the body," he said.

One way to help acclimate is to get on a good sleep schedule before the time change, Friedlander said -- including any sports fans who spent last week staying up late to watch baseball.

"A lot of the nation has been up for the World Series, we are more sleep deprived than normal," Friedlander said. "Adding daylight savings time can make the situation worse."

Though the time change is coming soon, using the time before it happens to adjust sleep patterns can help.

"Try to start out having good sleep habits and get enough rest so your body can acclimate better," Friedlander added.

Once the time change happens, the sun will go down earlier and days at the end of the year are shorter. This means that people will be spending more waking hours in the dark, which leads to an increased risk of developing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Friedlander noted the uptick in risk as daylight saving time ends, "SAD is a very important condition that we have to watch out for."

Symptoms of SAD including fatigue, sleep difficulty or excessive sleeping, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or despair and thoughts of suicide, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

The end of daylight saving time also presents hazards for drivers, who will be spending more time on the road when the sun is down. The National Highway Safety Administration has cautioned "motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier."