Sleep Issues and Time Change

Daylight Saving Time occurred this past Sunday at 2 A.M.  More than likely, daylight saving time forced most of us out of bed an hour earlier than we’re used to.

 If you found waking up Monday morning not so easy, you’re not alone.  How time changes actually affect us depends on our own personal health, sleep habits, and lifestyle.  Dr. Susan Rausch from the Sleep Center at Memorial explains how to make this adjustment easier on KIT radio. See the video below.


For more information visit: http://www.sleepcenteratmemorial.com/

 Daylight Saving Time occurred this past Sunday at 2 A.M.  More than likely, daylight saving time forced most of us out of bed an hour earlier than we’re used to.

If you found waking up Monday morning not so easy, you’re not alone in needing that extra jolt of java.  How time changes actually affect you depends on your own personal health, sleep habits, and lifestyle.

What can you do to reset your internal clock to adapt more quickly to the time changes?

  • It typically takes a day for every hour of sleep gained or lost for someone to adjust to a time change.
    • Your circadian rhythm, or 24 hour internal clock, is influenced by the environment, behavior, and medications.

The Environment

  • Light is the principal environmental cue which tells our body when to be awake. Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.
  • For example, if you get up at night to go to the bathroom, do not turn on the light. Prepare beforehand by installing a dim night light.

 

Medications

  • It is unlikely that medications would be needed for a simple one-hour time change of the clock, but in certain circumstances, like traveling across multiple time zones, sleeping pills can help with travel related sleep problems.
  • Sleeping pills should only be used under the direct guidance of a doctor or sleep specialist.

Sleep Deprivation

  • If you’re sleep deprived, you may not make up what you’ve lost simply in one weekend.
  • The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person, but most adults need 7 to 8 hours a night.
  • If you’re sleep deprived, you might suffer from memory problems, depression, weight gain, weakening of your immune system and an increase in the perception of pain.
  • A recent study found that sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity which can lead to metabolic problems, including Type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
  • If you are sleepy or fatigued you may be at greater risk for injury, accidents or accidental poisoning- be careful and avoid dangerous activities if you are sleepy or fatigued.
  • A recent British study found that more than 700 genes are affected when people get less than six hours of sleep a night for one week.
  • The immune system and how the body reacts to damage and stress are affected by lack of sleep.

Tips to combat Daylight Saving Fatigue

  • Perk up with coffee or another caffeinated beverage in the morning; avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  • Expose yourself to daylight soon after waking. Doing so helps adjust the circadian rhythm.
  • Avoid bright light in the evening. Computer screens mimic daylight and throw your circadian rhythm off.
  • Practice good sleep habits, with a comfy bed, a quiet room and white noise to drown out sounds if necessary.
  • A short catnap can be restorative, but limit the nap to no more than 30 minutes.
  • If your children are having issues adjusting to the change, keep them on their regular sleep, wake and nap schedules.  They should make the adjustment within a few days.

Sleepcenteratmemorial.org or call 574-3383

Sources: Webmd.com, vitals.nbcnews.com; bbc.co.uk; npr.org

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