As most of the United States returns to Daylight Saving Time (DST) on Sunday, March 12, we spring forward and advance our clocks one hour. For the one in three American adults who are already sleep deprived, losing an additional hour of sleep over the coming weekend can have a damaging effect on their sleep patterns.
Daylight Saving Time is a great opportunity for us to examine our current sleep habits and patterns to see where we can improve, says Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador® and Director of CIRCADIAN Corporate Sleep Programs. “Our bodies have a 24-hour natural cycle or circadian rhythm, so when we shift the clock and ‘lose’ an hour of precious sleep, it can be a jolt to our system. The impact of the change can vary depending on your personal health, sleep habits and your lifestyle.”
Here are a few simple tips to help you spring forward on Sunday and in the days to follow for sustainable sleep improvement:
- Ease into the time change gradually by going to bed and waking up 10-15 minutes earlier in the nights preceding the start of DST. This helps your body clock slowly adjust.
- Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime, preferably at least four hours for alcohol and six for caffeine.
- Expose yourself to light (preferably natural light) during waking hours, but do not expose yourself to bright light when it’s dark outside. This confuses your body clock.
- Tune out from technology at least an hour before bed to avoid brain stimulation and the suppression of melatonin caused by blue light emanating from your device screens (phones, tablets, computers, etc). Charge your devices out of the bedroom so you can recharge in bed!
What to do with this new hour of “free” time when your screens are sleeping? A few options: take a shower or bath, read a printed book, write in a journal, do some gentle stretching or calming yoga poses to transition to peaceful sleep.
Be consistent in your sleep time and wake time. Your body clock loves this!
Follow a bedtime routine that is calming and relaxing.
Adding a supplement such as melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone which regulates sleep and wake cycles during periods of occasional sleeplessness, can also help to ease the transition into Daylight Saving Time. Try USANA’s Pure Rest™, a fast-acting, ultra-pure melatonin supplement.
SOURCE: Ashley Collins, USANA Health Sciences
For information on the devastating consequences on not enough sleep, see my other blog post on “The Sleepless Epidemic.”
To try USANA’s Pure Rest™ visit my online store at www.Click2Health.usana.com
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