Spring forward — without losing the spring in your step
Feeling a little groggy after the switch to Daylight Saving Time? You’re not alone. On average, Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep when we set the clocks ahead in the spring.
Getting a good night’s sleep may feel unattainable when you’re in bed and wide awake at 2 a.m. However, there are steps you can take to better cope with Daylight Saving Time and control your sleep quality.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of adults in the United States are getting insufficient sleep. The cure for sleep problems can regularly be found in your everyday routine.
Sleep tips from a neurologist
While most of these tips can be implemented at any time, they’re especially helpful after the Daylight Saving Time fog. Mercy Health Neurologist, Dr. William Hogancamp recommends the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on the weekends. A fixed timetable helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. Long naps can dramatically affect the quality of your nighttime sleep. If you must take a nap, try limiting it to 15-20 minutes in the late morning or early afternoon.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime ritual prior to bedtime. Make the bedroom an inviting place to sleep: reduce ambient light, find a comfortable temperature (not too hot or cold), keep noises to a minimum, etc.
- Reduce your screen time at night and reduce your exposure within an hour of going to bed. Artificial light from TVs, laptops, computers, tablets and smartphones can make the brain think it is daytime, ultimately making it harder to fall asleep.
- Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise can help you sleep better. Set a goal for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. However, you want to make sure you finish at least four hours before bedtime. Exercise raises body temperature, which interferes with falling asleep.
- Watch what you eat and drink before bedtime. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. If you are hungry, eat small snacks, not large meals, within two hours of bedtime. While alcohol might help you feel sleepy in the short term, it ultimately ruins your sleep during the second half of the night by lessening the overall quality of sleep. This happens through reduced deep stages of sleep, leaving you feeling less refreshed when the alarm goes off.
- Know that your body will adjust after Daylight Saving Time, but that it might take a few days to feel 100% back to normal.
If your sleep troubles aren’t improving, and you think they might be a larger issue than adjusting from Daylight Saving Time, our team can help. Learn more about sleep disorders and find a doctor near you today.