Making the most of Daylight Saving Time... Tips from Dr. Schmidt

March 11, 2011 · No Comments

Moving the clock forward this weekend means loosing an hour of sleep for many. But it does not have to be. Here are a few ways to adjust to the new time zone and escape the jet lag effect:

 -Go to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual on Saturday night. Chances are you may fall asleep earlier and get the 7-8 hours of recommended sleep. If you cannot fall asleep on Saturday night because your body is not ready yet, do not stress over it. Get up, do something relaxing such as reading until your usual normal bedtime hour and then allow yourself to fall asleep again. Remember, though, that the next morning you should be getting up an hour earlier.

- On Sunday morning, get up at the same time as you usually would during weekdays. It is important to keep a consistent wake schedule to prevent significant changes in your circadian rhythm. Exposure to morning daylight will help reset your body clock. So get up and look outside your window, or better yet, if you have the courage to do so, go for a brief walk.

 - If you experience tiredness during the day on Sunday, try to avoid taking a nap since it may decrease your ability to fall asleep for the earlier bedtime later that evening. Instead, let your sleep pressure or need build during the day.  Building a sleep debt will make it easier to fall asleep earlier Sunday night.

 - Remember to always practice good sleep hygiene: no caffeine after 3:00 p.m. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, strenuous exercise in the evening, as well as electronic distractions in the bedroom (TV, computer) which tend to have an alerting effect on the brain. Keep your bedroom cool and dark, and most importantly, treat your sleep schedule as a necessity. Create a conducive environment with soothing light/music/aroma, keeping stressful thoughts at bay. Your bedroom is a place to relax, not a strategic center for your next day’s agenda.

 - On Monday morning, your body may or may not have adjusted yet… Again, go to bed at your scheduled bedtime, which should be an hour earlier with respect to the week before, and allow for the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. Soon enough, your body will adjust to the new time. But remember, keep your sleep-wake schedule consistent and allow your body to adjust the new time change.

 -Take this sleep test to assess your sleep. If you experience chronic daytime sleepiness, consult a sleep medicine specialist to evaluate the possibility of a sleep disorder that may contribute to your tiredness. 

Tags: Daylight Saving Time · patients

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