One-third of Americans report that they get less than the recommended amount of sleep for adults: seven or more hours. And adjusting your body to the time change can make it even more challenging.
Inadequate sleep is detrimental to your health and can contribute to chronic disease and conditions, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression. Sleep is a necessary component of good health and can be impacted by the shift to daylight savings time.
“The daylight savings time change in the spring can push people to wake up an hour earlier,” said Michael Davis, a registered respiratory therapist and a registered polysomnographic technologist with Memorial Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center. “It can take a few weeks for your body to adjust to your new schedule, and the change can impact your ability to fall asleep, stay awake and wake up on time.”
The reason for this struggle? A disruption of your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are daily cycles of physical, mental and behavioral changes that help tell you when to wake up and when to eat. A time change can impact this rhythm.
Aside from adapting to the time change, you should make an effort to get enough sleep daily. Here are some tips to help you gain better sleep habits.
Set a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake at the same time daily. It may help to set a reminder to go to bed.
Create an environment for sleep. Your room should be comfortable for you. For some, that means changing the temperature or blankets; for others, it may mean that you need to use a fan, a sleep mask or earplugs.
Make healthy food choices. Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime and limit or omit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine daily.
Keep naps short. If you nap, avoid lengthy naps in the daytime. Try to keep them to 30 minutes.
Move throughout the day. Staying physically active promotes better sleep, but avoid exercising close to bedtime.
Address stress. If you have stress or worries keeping you up at night, focus on coping strategies to help you reduce stress. Consider speaking with a counselor to help you.