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Do this, not that: Sleep tips for DST

Posted on Mar. 9, 2017 ( comments)
Bedroom sleep bed DST

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour this weekend — daylight saving time (DST) begins Sunday, March 12 at 2am.

This annual “spring forward” inevitably leads to lost sleep as we try to adjust to losing an hour over the weekend and going to bed an hour earlier than our bodies are used to.

A 2016 study found a temporary increase in stroke risk within the first two days after the transition to Daylight Saving Time, and a 2009 study found an increase in workplace injuries the day after the time change was made in the spring.

Here are some simple tips to help you adjust to DST.

DO: Try to wake up at your normal time on the first full day of daylight saving time. It may be difficult, but it will set you up for success by retraining your body’s internal clock.

DON’T: Nap on the first day of DST to “catch up” on missed sleep. This will only make it harder to get back on a routine sleep schedule.

DO: Make the change easier by going to bed incrementally earlier a few nights before DST takes effect. For example, go to bed 15 minutes earlier the Thursday before, 30 minutes earlier the Friday before and 45 minutes earlier the night of.

DON’T: Stay up late the night before DST, sleep in the morning of and expect to feel normal come Monday. The same is true for any weekend — stick to the same sleep schedule you have during the week if you want to feel well-rested on a regular basis.

DO: Practice good sleep hygiene. Make sure your sleeping space is cool, dark and quiet and you have a good quality bed and pillow.

DON’T: Drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages before bed, as these substances can interfere with sleep. Avoid them four to six hours before bedtime.

DO: Relax before bedtime to assist in falling asleep. Stress and anxiety can keep you awake — the stress hormone cortisol makes you more alert. Try reading a book, taking a bath or winding down in other ways that keep you calm.

DON’T: Use your phone in the hour leading up to bedtime. Studies have linked bedtime screen use with increased time to fall asleep, suppressed levels of melatonin (the primary hormone that triggers sleepiness) and other adverse effects.

DO: Exercise during the day. Even just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a few days a week can help you sleep better.

DON’T: Eat spicy or rich food right before bed. It can cause indigestion, which may lead to insomnia.

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.

MultiCare Sleep Centers

Auburn Sleep Center
121 N. Division, Suite 300, Auburn

Puyallup Sleep Center
402 15th Ave. S.E., Puyallup

South Hill Sleep Center
16515 Meridian E., Suite 110B, Puyallup

Tacoma Sleep Center
At MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma

About The Author

Dr. Kim Mebust
Kimberly Mebust, MD, is Executive Medical Director of MultiCare Sleep Centers, with locations in Auburn, Puyallup, South Hill and Tacoma.  More stories by this author
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