woman hitting snooze on alarm clock

Tips For Sleeping Soundly After the Time Change

When we “fall back” into daylight standard time, many people experience disruption in sleep patterns. While it’s only an adjustment of one hour to our internal clocks, the affects of the change on our body cannot be understated.

But findings in 2014 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 with the “gain” of an hour of sleep.

“Not only can changes in sleep patterns cause physical effects, but people often need days to adjust,” says Padmajarani Gottipolu, M.D., a family physician at Carrollton Family Medicine & Pediatrics, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “Daylight standard time is a good reminder to check your sleep habits and make needed adjustments for a good night’s sleep throughout the year.”

The National Sleep Foundation 2014 poll looked into the sleep practices and beliefs of the modern family with school–aged children and found that electronics are increasingly becoming fixtures in the modern American family’s bedroom.

When children leave electronic devices on past bedtime, the duration and quality of their sleep appears to suffer. Electronics have the potential to disturb sleep through light and noise, and they 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 responding to the poll reported that 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,” Dr. Gottipolu says. “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

These five easy steps may help improve the duration and quality of your sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

  1. Don’t eat after 7 p.m. Eating a high-calorie meal or late-night snack near your bedtime is associated with lower-quality sleep, especially in women. This also helps with losing or maintaining weight.
  2. Pay your sleep debt. If you need eight hours of sleep and you have a “debt” — meaning you skimped on a few hours of sleep for one or more days — sleep 9–10 hours per night until you no longer feel tired during the day.
  3. Set a bedtime routine. Take a bath or do relaxation exercises at the same time every day before bed.
  4. Write down your worries. Journal your thoughts before going to sleep to help clear your mind.
  5. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, so don’t drink coffee or caffeinated soft drinks in the evening. It might interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

To learn more about healthy sleep habits, schedule an appointment with a Texas Health Physician. Visit THPG.org today to find a physician near you.

Physicians employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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