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10 ways to not sacrifice sleep when we 'spring forward' for Daylight Saving Time
By Dr. Kimberly Mebust
Executive Medical Director of MultiCare Sleep Centers
Are you prepared to "spring forward"? This year we change to Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10.
When we're robbed of an hour of time by moving the clocks forward one hour, what does it really mean for our health and our sleep?
Some people have a hard time adjusting to the change because they sacrifice that hour by eliminating an hour of sleep. We're already a sleep-deprived society, so making the lack of sleep worse can be detrimental.
A 2009 study found that the return to Daylight Saving Time in the spring resulted in an increase in workplace injuries the day after the time change was made. The increase in injuries was attributed to sleep loss. Employees slept on average 40 minutes less after losing the hour of time.
How can you prepare yourself?
• Try gradually making the change a few days before the time change. Because you are going to get up an hour earlier, you have to go to bed an hour earlier. Go to bed incrementally earlier a few nights before the actual change.
• Get a full night of sleep during the change in time.
• Try to wake up at your normal time on the first full day of Daylight Saving Time (Sunday morning).
• Try not to nap, especially on the first day of the time change.
• Go to bed at your regularly scheduled bedtime on Sunday.
Other helpful hints:
• Don't short-change yourself on sleep. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
• Practice good sleep hygiene. Create a conducive sleep environment that is cool, dark and quiet. Have a good quality bed and pillow.
• Try not to eat, watch TV, or work on the in bed. Reserve the bedroom for only sleep and sex.
• "Unplug" from social networking. Put the cell phone in another room.
• Try not to drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages before bed.
If you know someone who is having trouble sleeping – or their snoring is keeping you awake – MultiCare Sleep Centers provide comprehensive care for adults as well as children. Find out what's keeping you up at night and learn whether it's a sign of something more serious.
Led by board-certified sleep disorders specialists, MultiCare's sleep services include sophisticated overnight sleep studies using advanced diagnostics, a full range of treatment for the more than 80 known sleep disorders, and support services for the entire family.
If you're curious about your sleep habits, try a free online self assessment at: www.multicare.org.
Kimberly Mebust, MD, is executive medical director of MultiCare Sleep Centers, with locations in Auburn, Tacoma, Puyallup, South Hill and Gig Harbor. Call 253-804-2809 or learn more online at: www.multicare.org/home/sleep-medicine.