Effects of transitions into and out of daylight saving time on the quality of the sleep/wake cycle: an actigraphic study in healthy university students

Chronobiol Int. 2013 Dec;30(10):1218-22. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2013.812651. Epub 2013 Sep 3.


The main goal of the present study was to examine the effects of transition into and out of daylight saving time (DST) on the quality of the sleep/wake cycle, assessed through actigraphy. To this end, 14 healthy university students (mean age: 26.86 ± 3.25 yrs) wore an actigraph for 7 d before and 7 d after the transition out of and into DST on fall 2009 and spring 2010, respectively. The following parameters have been compared before and after the transition, separately for autumn and spring changes: bedtime (BT), get-up time (GUT), time in bed (TIB), sleep onset latency (SOL), fragmentation index (FI), sleep efficiency (SE), total sleep time (TST), wake after sleep onset (WASO), mean activity score (MAS), and number of wake bouts (WB). After the autumn transition, a significant advance of the GUT and a decrease of TIB and TST were observed. On the contrary, spring transition led to a delay of the GUT, an increase of TIB, TST, WASO, MAS, and WB, and a decrease of SE. The present results highlight a more strong deterioration of sleep/wake cycle quality after spring compared with autumn transition, confirming that human circadian system more easily adjusts to a phase delay (autumn change) than a phase advance (spring transition).

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / methods
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Photoperiod*
  • Seasons
  • Self Report
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness / physiology*
  • Young Adult