Make the Shift to Daylight Savings Time Smoother

We all understand how important sleep is. It plays a key role in your family’s health. While you sleep, your body heals and repairs organs like your heart and your blood vessels. Over time, not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of problems like heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Lack of sleep leaves children short of attention and concentration in school.

With the upcoming change to daylight saving time, it’s a good idea to prepare for it and reduce the disruption in your family’s important sleep schedule.

How Does The Change Affect Us?

This time of year we “spring forward” an hour. In the evening when our reset clocks say it’s our normal bedtime, we may not feel sleepy yet. It’s natural to delay going to bed.

Then in the morning, the time change means you get up an hour earlier than your body is used to. The change to your sleep cycle can leave you short of sleep.

Studies show there’s an increase in work and motor vehicle accidents in the week after the shift to daylight saving time.

How You Can Make the Daylight Saving Time Change Smoother

If you normally sleep well, the tips below can help you maintain your sleep patterns.

If you or a family member ordinarily has poor sleep quality or short sleep duration, the time change is more likely to have a negative impact on sleep. Here’s how to ensure adequate sleep after the time change.

  • Adjust your rise time by up to 10 minutes a day over the week or two before the clock change
  • Maintain regular meal and exercise times that will stay the same after the clock change so your body won’t be adjusting to multiple changing rhythms
  • Try to schedule important activities a few weeks after the clock shift since some fatigue, reduced concentration and even mood changes may happen after the clock change

If you have concerns about the amount of sleep you or your child gets, ask your health care professional about it. There are sound medical approaches to helping your family sleep better.

Meet the Author

Lisa M. Cottrell, PHD is a psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Grafton, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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