Adjusting to Daylight Saving Time
by Dr. Joseph Cooke
Mar 14, 2018 | 6504 views | 0 0 comments | 453 453 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On March 11,we advanced our clocks forward an hour to better utilize sunlight. While many lament “the loss” of an hour’s sleep, setting our clocks forward one hour can indeed disturb our sleep patterns and leave us groggy for several days.

While sleeping patterns are different for all us, doctors generally recommend seven to eight hours of sleep a night for an adult and nine to ten for children. A good night’s sleep has many proven health benefits related to longevity, mental acuity, memory retention, and athletic recovery.

Here's some tips to help make sure Daylight Saving Time does not impact your sleep schedule:

• Exercise. Just a moderate amount of exercise, thirty minutes a day, three times a week, can help you sleep much better. Just try to avoid heavy workouts right before your bedtime.

• Avoid stimulants before bed. Try not to ingest caffeine or other stimulants too close to your bedtime. Stimulants can disturb your regular sleep patterns.

• Eat a lighter evening meal. A dinner that is high in fat or a particularly spicy dish can lead to evening indigestion. Indigestion often contributes to insomnia.

• Relax before bedtime. Try to create a more relaxing and quiet atmosphere prior to the time you go to bed. Calming activities like a warm bath, a good book or a cup of decaffeinated tea can help put you in the mood for a better night’s rest.

• Put down the smart phone or tablet. Our smart phones and tables emit what is called “blue light.” This spectrum of light can give our body the signal that it’s morning, making it difficult to get to sleep. Try putting down the smartphone or tablet before getting ready for bed.

• Keep a regular routine. Try to keep a regular sleep routine during the work week and even during the weekends. Waking up the same time on the weekend as you do during the weekday will help reduce grogginess throughout your week, particularly on Mondays.

• Try a nap. If Daylight Saving time really has you lagging behind, a short mid-day nap (about 20 minutes) can improve your attention span, memory retention and leave you feeling refreshed, without impacting your regular sleep patterns.

Dr. Joseph Cooke is chairman of Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens.

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