Health Matters: Preparing for Daylight Saving Time

The effects of daylight saving time may be more than you might think

HEALTH MATTERS — We are quickly approaching another Daylight Saving Time.

This time around, we are springing forward and that means we are losing an hour of sleep!

March 12th marks the day we change our clocks and with it being over a week away, a sleep medicine doctor said you can prepare for the change.

Whether it’s not being able to fall asleep or maybe you stayed up late on purpose, waking up early after being up late is a feeling we all know.

“Lack of sleep basically makes you wake up un-refreshed and tired,” said Dr. Praveen Jinnur, who works with patients at the Essentia Health Sleep Medicine Department.

It may not seem like much, but Dr. Jinnur says one hour really does make a difference.

“There is a sudden  change that your body has to make,” he explained. “It basically takes at least seven to 10 days for your internal clock to reset and that can make you more sleep deprived. There are some studies that actually have shown increased risk of heart attacks and strokes following that change.”

The sleep medicine doctor says it’s in your best interest to prepare for the change.

Your body will thank you because otherwise, you might feel groggy or crash throughout the day.

“You can start sleeping 15 to 20 minutes earlier every day,” Dr. Jinnur said. “If they start before a week, in three to seven days they can actually progress their sleep.”

But, if you’re someone that has trouble falling asleep in general, you may want to put your phone down before bed.

“The bright lights actually stimulate your brain and actually prevent the release of melatonin, which is actually a sleep inducing hormone,” said Dr.Jinnur.

In fact, darkening the room helps you fall asleep quicker, especially for children.

“There are some kids who can sleep whenever you put them to bed, but there are a good number of kids who resist that. The main thing is to avoid the light stimulation,” he said.

Dr. Jinnur says the ideal amount of sleep is between seven to eight hours.

If your day starts slow, he says opening the blinds as soon as you wake up can help adjust your internal clock.