As Sunday, November 7 approaches, it’s important to begin preparing yourself and kids for the return to Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November, which means most of the country will turn clocks back one hour.
Adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. However, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in three adults does not get that much sleep on a regular basis, which negatively affects cognitive performance and physical health.
Medical experts at HSHS St. Francis Hospital and HSHS Medical Group encourage you to go to bed 10-15 minutes later the week before DST ends to prepare yourself for the time change. This allows your body and brain to adjust slowly rather than in just one night. It’s also important to stay in a bedtime and wake time routine after the clocks fall back because it helps the brain prepare for sleep.
Light is a big environmental factor in your quality of sleep. In the winter we lose daylight so it’s darker earlier which makes our bodies tired earlier. Medical providers suggest you expose yourself to more light during the daytime hours to make the adjustment a little easier on your internal clock.
Other tips to achieve quality sleep include:
- Limit the use of electronics one hour prior to bed to prepare your body and brain for sleep
- Do not go to bed hungry; eat a light, healthy snack at least 30 minutes before bed if necessary
- Keep the bedroom temperature cooler than the rest of the house, if possible
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and exercise close to bedtime
Most of the United States will “spring ahead” again when Daylight Saving Time begins the second Sunday in March 2022.
Outside of temporary adjustments around Daylight Saving Time changes, ongoing difficulties falling or staying asleep may be an indication of larger health issues. Symptoms such as snoring, choking, coughing or gasping during the night, or excessive daytime sleepiness can be related to sleep apnea and impact your cardiac health.
During episodes of sleep apnea, our blood pressure goes up and patients could experience cardiac arrythmias that can cause long term effects.
If you have concerns about your sleep patterns, speak to your primary care physician or contact St. Francis’ sleep medicine services at 217-324-8518 to learn more about possible treatments.