Springing Ahead With Healthy Sleep Habits
Setting the clocks ahead each spring contributes to the sleep deprivation pandemic in America, and can affect changes to our circadian cycle – often referred to as our “internal clock”. These changes can lead to such things as:
- Inability to concentrate
- Productivity loss at work
- Mood issues
- Automobile accidents, and more.
There are also additional downstream health effects secondary to sleep deprivation, which can also be exacerbated by daylight saving time.
Who is most effected by daylight saving time?
A recent study indicated that children, as well as working adults ages 35 to 55, seemed to be more affected by daylight saving time than those in other age groups. But, older folks – about 55 to 60 years old – were shown to be less likely than the general population to feel the effects of a time change.
The same study showed that five out of 10 Americans required at least one or more days to recover from daylight saving time, and that half of those people required a week or longer to recover from the sleep deprivation that they experience.
How do you prepare and recover from daylight saving time?
There are things we can do to prepare that will help us avoid ill effects. The simplest one: go to bed about 10 to 20 minutes earlier than normal in the days leading up to daylight saving time. Do not ignore the impending hour loss of sleep; plan ahead for it, and make sure you get the sleep you need.
Obviously, it is important to maintain good sleep hygiene measures year round. Some tips for maintaining good sleep hygiene include:
- Sticking to a sleep schedule. Prioritize sleep in your daily routine and adhere to a set bed time
- Be mindful of drinking and eating. Limit caffeine and alcohol, and restrict their use to early evening hours at the latest. Avoid eating meals within two hours of bedtime, so your body is empty and digestion is complete.
- Stay active! Daily exercise has been shown to contribute to sounder sleep and better cardiovascular outcomes in general.
- Avoid long naps during the day.
- Create a healthy sleep environment. Your bedroom should be between 65 and 68 degrees in the wintertime. Make sure it is cozy, quiet, dark and that you have a comfortable mattress.
The negative effects of screen time on your sleep.
Nowadays, it is also critical to understand how screen time can have a negative effect on bedtime.
Having any kind of electronics in your room can make it difficult to fall asleep. They are distracting and the blue light that screens create stimulate your brain and suppresses melatonin creation. I generally recommend that smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. be kept far away from the bedside table and out of reach. If that is absolutely not feasible, at least set your device to night mode, which will cause your screen to emit a much less obtrusive yellow light, instead of blue.
Are you experiencing symptoms of a sleep disorder?
Finally, it is important to note that there are treatable medical issues that can cause poor sleep and subsequent complications on a patient’s chronic health issues. These include:
- Obstructive and central sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome and insomnia
- Psychological issues like anxiety, depression and substance use
Because we understand that sleep is an important aspect of life and that poor sleep can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, Catskill Regional Medical Group offers its Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. The department is located at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, NY.
If you are experiencing poor sleep, our expert group of Board-certified physicians offer specialized diagnoses and treatment plans. Contact the office at (845) 794-3379
All content presented are provided for informational and educational purposes only, and are not intended to approximate or replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read within the website content. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.