Thrive by IU Health

March 16, 2021

Don’t Let Spring Forward Leave You Behind: 6 Tips for Healthy Sleep

Don’t Let Spring Forward Leave You Behind: 6 Tips for Healthy Sleep

While most of us are ready for warmer weather and longer days, ‘losing’ that extra hour of sleep can make you want to crawl back into bed and hibernate.

Even though it happens every year, adjusting to daylight saving time never seems to get easier. The shift in your sleep schedule can cause sleep deprivation, leaving you feeling groggy for several days after the time change.

With one-third of adults already struggling to get enough sleep each night, losing an hour can have a huge effect on physical and emotional health. Sleep is linked to hormones that affect stress. Disrupting that hormone process short term can result in poor work performance, lost productivity, difficulty concentrating and trouble regulating hunger levels.

The impact of long-term sleep disorders can have greater implications on your health. Sleep helps heal your body and can lower the risk for certain diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression and obesity.

While it may not be the wakeup call you wanted, daylight saving time is a great opportunity to reflect on your sleep habits and form healthy ones. Beat the lingering effects of the time change by following the tips below:

  1. Stay consistent. Set and stick to fixed sleep-wake times. For adults, it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule of 7-9 hours a night—even on weekends.
  2. Power down. Avoid screen time an hour before bed and establish the bedroom as a place for sleeping – not scrolling through social media or watching TV.
  3. Set the tone. Create an environment that is conducive to sleep. Keep the room cool (about 68 degrees), dark and quiet so you can sleep soundly.
  4. Evaluate your evening activities. Try to limit or avoid things that can leave you tossing and turning at night. Caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals or a late workout too close to bedtime can keep you from a good night’s rest.
  5. Skip ‘snooze’. Don’t let the snooze button tempt you into getting a few extra minutes in bed. Getting short chunks of sleep doesn’t allow you to reach a REM cycle, leaving you even groggier.
  6. See the light. On the bright side, after enduring a long, cold winter, you now have an extra hour to soak up the sun. Take time to get outside and enjoy the natural light. Sunlight helps reset your internal clock.

If you struggle to fall or stay asleep at night, regardless of the season, it’s time to make a change. Sleep problems can be treated or managed in a variety of ways. The IU Health Sleep Disorder Centers and your physician can work together to help you get the rest you need.

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