11 things you can do to adjust to losing that hour of sleep when daylight saving time begins | Kiowa County Press

The time change can make you feel jet lagged. Laura Olivas/Moment via Getty Images

Deepa Birman, Pittsburgh University of Health Sciences and Hiren Muzumdar, Pittsburgh University of Health Sciences

As the clocks tick forward and Daylight Savings Time begins, there can be anxiety about losing an hour of sleep and how to adjust to that change.

Usually, an hour seems like an insignificant amount of time, but even this small loss can cause problems. This forced change in the biological clock can have significant repercussions on health.

Jumping forward is usually more difficult than falling backward. Why?

The natural rhythm of the body’s internal clock in people tends to run slightly over 24 hours, which means that every day we tend to delay our sleep schedules. Thus, “rushing forward” goes against the natural rhythm of the body. It sounds like a mild case of jet lag caused by traveling east – in which you waste time and have trouble falling asleep an hour earlier that night.

Although it’s technically only an hour lost due to the daylight saving time change, sleep deprivation due to a disrupted sleep pattern lasts for days and often disrupts schedules, resulting in cumulative sleep loss.

We run a sleep assessment center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital and regularly see patients who suffer from sleep loss and internal clocks that are out of sync with external time. . Our experience has shown us that it is important to prepare, as much as possible, for the jet lag that occurs each spring.

woman in front of a laptop yawns and rubs her face
Sleep loss from leapfrogging has been associated not only with sleepiness at work, but also with increased work-related injuries. fizkes/Shutterstock.com

Consequences of sleep loss vary

Numerous studies have shown that there is an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure associated with sleep deprivation. Accidents at work are increasing, as are road accidents. Teenagers often have a harder time waking up in time for school and may have difficulty with attention and school performance or worsening mental health issues.

Is there anything that can be done to help deal with this loss of sleep and this change in rhythm of the biological clock?

Sure. The first step is to raise awareness and use the power of knowledge to combat this problem. Here are some quick tips to get you ready for the weekend ahead.

  1. Don’t start with a “sleep debt”. Make sure you and, if you’re a parent, your child get enough and regular sleep before the time change each year. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day to function properly. Children have different sleep needs depending on their age.

  2. Prepare for the time change. Going to bed – and for parents, putting their children to bed – 15 to 20 minutes earlier each evening the week before the clock change is ideal. Having an earlier wake-up time can help you fall asleep earlier. Try waking up an hour earlier than usual on Saturday, the day before the clock change. If you haven’t been able to make changes to your sleep schedule ahead of time, then keep a very consistent wake time on weekdays as well as weekends to make it easier to adjust to the time change. .

  3. Use light to your advantage. Light is the strongest signal to adjust the internal biological clock. Expose yourself to bright light when you wake up because you start getting up earlier in the week before daylight saving time. If you live in an area with limited natural light in the morning after the clock changes, use bright artificial light to signal your biological clock to wake up earlier. As the season progresses this will be less of a problem as the sun rises earlier in the day.

  4. At night, minimize exposure to bright light and especially blue light emitted by electronic media screens. This light can change your body’s rhythm and signal your internal clock to wake up later the next day. If your devices allow it, set their screens to dim and emit less blue light in the evening.

  5. In some geographic areas, it may be useful to have room darkening curtains at bedtime depending on the amount of sunlight your bedroom receives at bedtime. Be sure to open the curtains in the morning to allow natural morning light to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

  6. Carefully plan your daytime and evening activities. The day before the clocks change, prepare for a good night’s sleep by incorporating relaxing activities that can help you unwind, such as reading a book or meditating.

  7. Exercise in the morning or early in the day. Take a walk, even if it’s just around the house or your office during the day.

  8. Consider starting with a high-protein breakfast, as sleep deprivation can increase appetite and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates and sugars.

  9. Stop using caffeine after noon. Using caffeine too late in the day can lead to difficulty falling asleep and even disrupt sleep.

  10. Adults, decline this wine at bedtime. Wine and other types of alcohol can also disrupt sleep.

  11. If you are a parent or caregiver, try to be patient with your children as they adjust to new times. Sleep deprivation affects the whole family, and some children have a harder time adjusting to the time change than others. You may notice more frequent meltdowns, irritability, and loss of focus and concentration. Plan for quieter, electronic media-free time in the evening. Consider a brief 20-minute nap in the early afternoon for young children who are struggling to cope with this change.

[Over 150,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletters to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Prioritizing sleep pays off in the short term and over the years. A good night’s sleep is a necessary ingredient for a productive and fulfilling day all year round.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 7, 2019.

The conversation

Deepa Burman, Co-Director of the Pediatric Sleep Assessment Center and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pittsburgh University of Health Sciences and Hiren Muzumdar, director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh University of Health Sciences

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Comments are closed.