Does Daylight Savings Time create turmoil in your life?
Well, you’re not alone. It’s known that when the clocks spring forward every year, heart attacks, workplace injuries and overall depression increase. Why is that? Because changing the time alters your sleep schedule and sleep is integral to overall health and well-being. Almost every aspect of your health is impacted by sleep. Luckily, there are some strategies you can implement to prepare for the dreaded disruption in your sleep schedule.
How to Prepare
To prepare for daylight savings time, make sure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene all year round. Prior to going to bed every night, dim the lights for 30-60 minutes – this includes electronic devices. You should also exercise regularly but try to limit intense exercising to the earlier hours in the day, so your body is not revved-up prior to going to sleep. If you must exercise in the evening, try to practice relaxation and meditation techniques afterward to calm your body.
Sleep quality can also be affected by your diet. Avoid large meals in the evening as your body will use its energy at night trying to digest the food. Also avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. If that is difficult for you to do, at least limit caffeine during the time change. It’s also a good idea to limit alcohol intake. Alcohol may make you feel drowsy but in actuality it can prevent your body from having a restful sleep as it impedes the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycle.
Sleep Hygiene Techniques
As Daylight Savings time approaches, you can prepare for the disruption by practicing the good sleep hygiene rules above and by following the sleep techniques listed below:
- A week prior to the time change, you can begin to adjust your bedtime and wake-up time to 15 minutes earlier. This gives your body time to adjust gradually.
- Limit naps in the daytime. If that’s not possible, try not to nap for longer than 30 minutes.
- Avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning. This will delay your body’s ability to adjust to the time change.
- Wake up to natural light such as the sun or light that mimics the sun rising as this is more natural and will help your body reset its natural clock.
Quality, restful sleep is essential to overall good health. Practicing good sleep techniques year-round will lead to better sleep thus leading to a better quality of life.
Contact the Tallahassee Memorial Sleep Center
For more information about sleep medicine and disorders, or to inquire about a sleep study, please call the Tallahassee Memorial Sleep Center at 850-431-4400 or visit TMH.ORG/Sleep.
Muhanad Hasan, MD, is a sleep medicine physician at TMH Physician Partners – Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep, the Florida Capital's choice for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary disorders and conditions.