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Don't Lose Sleep Over Daylight Savings Time

03/06/12

  05:09:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 264 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Lose Sleep Over Daylight Savings Time

If you’ve checked your calendar lately, you may be aware that we’re fast approaching one of the most dreaded days of the year. Sunday, March 11 heralds the return of daylight savings time – which means one less hour of precious slumber.

Nor are the irritations of “springing forward” limited to losing sleep and resetting the clocks. According to Aparajitha Verma, M.D., medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, the average person needs about three or four days to adjust to the time change.

However, there are a few simple strategies minimize the impact to your internal clock. Verma suggests getting up an hour earlier and going to sleep an hour earlier. Take a nap in the afternoon on Sunday if needed, but not within a few hours of bedtime. Napping too close to bedtime can disrupt nighttime sleep.

An even better approach is to practice good “sleep hygiene” year-round, by following these tips (via Medical Xpress):

  • Sleep in a quiet and dark environment and set the thermostat at a slightly cooler temperature;
  • Don’t allow pets in the bed;
  • No reading, eating or watching TV in bed;
  • Don’t watch the clock;
  • Set a “wind down” time prior to going to bed;
  • Don’t take over the counter sleep aids and avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime, as these can disrupt sleep. Instead, try drinking warms teas or milk to increase your body temperature, which helps induce and sustain sleep;
  • Exercise is good for sleep, but not within two hours of going to sleep.

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