How To Keep Daylight Saving Time From Messing With Sleep

Ready or not, daylight saving time arrives this Sunday, March 14th. We’ll be turning the clocks forward an hour, which will lead to lighter skies later in the day, but it can have some not-so-sunny effects on our health. Research has shown that people tend to losebetween 40 and 60 minutes of sleepin the night after the time change and while that might not sound like a big deal, studies have found the rate ofheart attacks,strokes,andmood disordersin the U.S. temporarily increases after the spring forward.

Plus, losing an hour of sleep can leave us groggy and irritable. So what can we do about it? Sleep researchersRebecca RobbinsandWendy M. Troxeladvise starting to prioritize your sleep now -about a week before the time change- with these steps:

  • Go to bed about 15 minutes earlier every night- These experts suggest getting into the routine of going to bed and waking up earlier, but doing it gradually. So you hit the sack 15 minutes earlier tonight, 30 minutes earlier tomorrow, and keep adding 15 minutes a night until you hit the hour mark.
  • Make sleep a priority- Get your sleep routine in shape and pull out all the stops to do it. That means being strict about bedtimes, laying off caffeine later in the day, avoiding after-dinner booze and not looking at electronics right before bed.

After the clocks change:

  • Get outside as much as possible during the day, especially in the morning- The sun will help your body’s circadian clock get used to its new schedule.
  • Keep your home extra dark at night- Limiting lights at night can also help your body get used to the new time adjustment. Turn bright lights off after the sun sets and power down electronics at least an hour before bed to tell your brain it’s time to get ready to snooze.

Source:Mind Body Green

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