Use Daylight Saving Time to Improve Sleep Habits
When we “spring forward” this Sunday into daylight saving time, many people will experience a disruption in their sleep pattern. While it’s only an hour adjustment to their internal clocks, for our bodies, the change cannot be understated.
But findings released earlier this week from a national sleep poll show that by making a few small adjustments to your routine, you can help yourself and your family rest better and longer — even without the time change’s extra hour.
“Not only can losing sleep cause physical effects, but it could take days for people to recover,” said Dr. Padmajarani Gottipolu, a family physician at Carrollton Family Medicine & Pediatrics, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “Daylight saving time is a good reminder to check your sleep habits and make needed adjustments for a good night’s sleep throughout the year.”
Results in the National Sleep Foundation 2014 poll looked into the sleep practices and beliefs of the modern family with school-aged children, found that electronics are increasingly becoming fixtures in the modern American family’s bedroom.
When children leave them on past bedtime, the duration and quality of their sleep appears to suffer. Electronics have the potential to disturb sleep through light and noise, as well as provide a distraction that can lead to delayed bedtimes. Technology constantly impacts children’s daily lives, and the study shows that this can impact the quality of their sleep. Parents said 72 percent of children ages 6 to 17 sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom.
“Remember that sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for good health and well-being,” Gottipolu said. “Talk with your primary-care physician if you’re not sleeping well or are concerned about having a clinical sleep disorder. Simple tweaks to a person’s routine can help tremendously when it comes to getting the proper amount of sleep.”
How to Get Better Sleep
Here are five easy steps you can take to help improve your sleep and get a better night’s rest, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
- Don’t eat after 7 p.m. Eating a high calorie meal or late night snack near your bedtime is associated with lower quality of sleep, especially in women. This also helps with losing or maintaining weight.
- Pay your sleep debt. If you need eight hours of sleep and you have a “debt” – meaning you skimped on hours of sleep for one or more days — sleep 9-10 hours per night until you no longer feel tired during the day.
- Set a bedtime routine. Take a bath or do relaxation exercises at the same time every day before bed.
- Write down your worries. Journal your thoughts before going to sleep to help clear your mind.
- Avoid caffeine. Don’t drink coffee or caffeinated soft drinks in the afternoon.
Physicians employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.