By George Liakeas, MD
Concierge Physician, Liakeas CCPHP
Spring is officially here, so we can look forward to longer days, warmer weather, and the opportunity to spend more time outdoors. However, you may still be feeling the lingering effects and losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Saving Time. That one hour lost has a significant impact on our sleep patterns.
Here are a few ideas to help you get your sleep schedule back on track. They’re not only good for the weeks around our semi-annual time shifts, but good for your overall sleep hygiene, as well.
Get a Routine
Try to initiate a sleep routine. That means going to bed at to the same appointed hour each night and rising in the morning at the same time as well.
Let There Be Light
Light affects our circadian rhythms. Be sure to soak up sunlight in the mornings to cue your body to stay alert during the daytime. The opposite holds true at night. Dim the lights and kick the computer and television habit a few hours before bedtime for a good night’s rest.
Good Daytime Habits Reap Good Sleep Habits
Ensuring a good night’s sleep actually starts during the day. Exercise, even a short walk, can help you sleep better at night. Moreover, while not everyone has the opportunity, a 20-minute nap during the day has proven ability to improve sleep quality in general. Daytime naps provide the added bonus of helping you make up for less sleep after a time change.
Tweak Your Bedtime Routines
Avoid exercise, caffeine and alcohol intake a few hours before bedtime. Also, limit food intake to small, lean-protein or complex-carbohydrate snacks. Otherwise, you may find your sleep disrupted, making it even harder to catch up on lost sleep.
Know The Facts
We can’t change the clock, but facts often make us feel more in control. It might help to know that the average person sleeps forty minutes less the Monday night following a time change with most people adjusting by that Wednesday.
Here’s to your sleep health — wishing you a happy, well-rested spring!