March 06, 2015

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Springing Forward

Losing an hour of sleep this weekend won’t just make you tired – it can also cause some serious health risks. Did you know that the risk of heart attacks significantly increases in the two workdays following the changeover to Daylight Saving Time? Or that traffic accidents increase by eight percent on the Monday following the switch?

Instead of losing sleep over the time change, follow these tips:

  • Be an early bird. The time change takes place early Sunday morning, in order to reduce the disruption of the workweek. Ease into the transition gradually by giving your body time to adapt. Set your clocks forward when the weekend begins on Friday night at bedtime. All weekend, sync your eating and sleeping habits to the new time. This will give you a head start on feeling rested and adjusted once the next workweek arrives.
  • Stay in on Saturday. Alcohol interferes your sleep cycle. And since you’ll already be losing an hour, don’t compound the problem by drinking the night before. Avoid staying out too late at a party or gathering. Everything needs to be scheduled in moderation. Maybe Saturday night is a good night to stay in and watch a movie?
  • Lighten up. The right combination of light and dark can help your body’s internal clock readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly. On Sunday morning, open the shades and brighten the lights. Spend time outside during the day. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it’s time to wind down.
  • Avoid snoozing on Sunday. Resist the urge to sleep in or take long naps on Sunday, even if you feel tired from your weekend activities. Avoid napping late in the day. If you get tired, Take a brisk walk or exercise instead.
  • Minimize on Monday (if possible). Keep a light schedule on Monday. Be cautious when driving or operating machinery. Your body should adjust to the new time in three to four days.

Learn more about our Baptist Health Sleep Centers.

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