WACO, TX — With one less hour of sleep, Baylor-based sleep and cognition experts say it's more important than ever to be well-rested.
"We mainly study sleep, memory and cognitive functions," said Chenlu Gao, a doctoral candidate from Baylor's Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Lab.
"You know this year is a very special year because we are coping with Covid-19 and sleep actually plays a large role there as well because sleep affects our immune functions," said Gao.
Daylight Saving Time 2021 even more meaningful than ever, as Gao explains our response to the Covid-19 vaccine can be affected by our quality and quantity of sleep.
"It makes us more vulnerable to contracting viruses and it would even decrease the effectiveness of vaccines it's really a critical time that people get enough sleep so those vaccines can be effective," explained Gao.
25 News met with several early risers at the local breakfast stop, Nightlight Donuts.
"For my morning shifts, I usually wake up around 3:15 A.M. because I have to be at the store at 4 A.M. to start setting everything up opening coffee, prepping donuts, all of that, its a very early morning, kind of the middle of the night," said Amy Hammerton, at Nightlight Donuts.
"I've never really been a morning person either, so this has been a big change for me...lots of coffee, it's usually my solution for everything," said Hammerton.
Nightlight coworker Grace Tannous saying something similar, "so today I woke up around like 4 A.M. which is not that bad because I go to bed around like 9:30 last semester I was trying to figure out how to balance school and this was a lot of sleepless nights but once I figured it out it was better."
Both workers saying they get between five to six hours of sleep a night.
Experts implore people under the age of 65 should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and those over 65 should get seven to eight.
Experts say lack of sleep is raising some red flags in the medical community, pointing to studies finding that chronic lack of sleep is pointing towards higher rates of Alzheimer's and dementia.
The bottom line, sleep should be a top priority.
"We should prioritize sleep and get sufficient sleep every night," said Gao.