Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/30/2020 -- Daylight savings is over once again, and that means setting the clock back an hour. Just an hour difference can cause disruptions in sleep, which can lead to both mental and physical challenges.
Fortunately, these challenges tend to be temporary, said Kevin Walker, MD, medical director of Intermountain Healthcare Sleep Disorders Center. Dr. Walker said there are actually strategies that individuals can use to cope with the time change and the disruptions in sleep schedules. Here are six of them:
1. Listen to and follow body cues. "Our internal clock governs many biological functions including our sleep and wake cycles," said Dr. Walker. "Resist the urge to immediately force your body into a new schedule. When you feel tired, go to bed. If your bedtime was at 10 p.m. before the time change and you feel tired at 9, turn out the lights and crawl into bed at 9. As you make the transition from daylight savings time your body will prompt you when it needs rest and your schedule can gradually adjust."
2. When it's bedtime, turn off ALL lights, including the television, phone, and computer screens. Melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, is inhibited by light, but as night falls the brain starts to release melatonin, which causes people to feel drowsy. "Even small amounts of light can disrupt our sleep-wake cycle, so don't underestimate the impact the light from electronics have on your ability to sleep well," Dr. Walker said.
3. If individuals find their body is still on the daylight savings time schedule and find they are waking up an hour earlier than needed, they should get up anyway rather than try to force more sleep. "Treat yourself to some exercise before you get ready for work," said Dr. Walker. "It will not only energize you, but it's a great way to start your day."
4. People should get up as soon as they hear the alarm. "It can be tempting to stay under the warm covers, but don't hit the snooze button and subject yourself to the stress of anticipating the next time the alarm will go off. That's generally not good quality sleep," said Dr. Walker.
5. Flip on the bedroom lamp when it's time to get out of bed or consider a dawn simulator alarm clock. That signals your brain it's time to wake up. "The timing of our internal body clock is influenced by light," said Dr. Walker. "When you expose yourself to light after you wake up, your body will know sleep time is over."
6. Be sure to eat a good breakfast. "There's a reason it's called the most important meal of the day," said Dr. Walker "Breakfast can provide you with lasting energy and breaking your night-long fast with a nutritious breakfast will help wake up your body and mind."
"Nothing starts your day off better than a good night's sleep," said Dr. Walker. "As you transition away from daylight savings time, give these strategies a try and help your body adjust to the change."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare or the Intermountain Healthcare Blog.
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