Daylight Saving Time recovery is great chance to set new sleep routineMarch 13, 2018
Just like with jet lag, losing an hour is more difficult than gaining an hour. So, the daylight saving time transition in spring is tougher than fall for most people. After all, there’s a reason Monday was National Nap Day.
While an extra nap may help get through a tough couple of days, it’s important to have good sleeping habits all year. We sat down with Blue Cross medical director Dr. Melissa Kizilos to get her insights on creating a healthy nighttime routine.
“Now might be a good time to review your routine to make sure you’re practicing good sleep habits all year round,” Dr. Kizilos says. “Creating a relaxing evening ritual can help set the tone for restful sleep.”
Dr. Kizilos offers seven tips that will set you up for the best rest possible.
1. Plan ahead and consider an earlier bed time to help you adjust to changes in sleep schedule.
Changing the clock isn’t the only time we lose an extra hour of sleep. If you know you’re going to be traveling, or even need to get up extra early for a meeting, moving up your bedtime might help.
“Going to bed a little earlier for several nights before the day we change the clock or travel to another time zone makes the transition easier, especially for children, including babies and teens,” Dr. Kizilos says. “Avoid the temptation to stay up late. Go to bed on time.”
2. Make sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night (or whatever amount your body needs).
“Be sure to get whatever amount of sleep is right for you. For example, if you’re already sleep deprived, the time change may be more difficult for you, and you may need extra sleep.”
“If you’re already sleep deprived, the time change may be difficult and you may need extra sleep.”
3. Set a consistent sleep and wake time.
“This helps your body establish the new routine,” she says.
And it’s a good practice to have in place all year round to make sure you get the best sleep possible.
4. Reduce caffeine intake. And do not consume alcohol or caffeine close to bed.
Think a glass of wine might be a great way to relax at the end of the day? If it’s nearing your regular bed time, instead, consider taking a warm bath, as that may help you wind down and get to sleep.
“Consider taking a warm bath, as that may help you wind down and get to sleep.”
5. Expose yourself to a lot of light during the day, but not during the night.
“It’s important to get natural light if you can in the morning,” she says.
And, as for those nighttime trips to the bathroom or to get a glass of water, “Have a low wattage nightlight to light your path to prevent accidental falls. However, try to avoid having any light, not even a nightlight, near your bed, as it can interfere with sleep.”
Finally, start decreasing exposure to bright light at least an hour before bed, especially the blue light that comes from electronic devices. “These suppresses the release of melatonin and makes it harder to fall asleep,” Dr. Kizilos says.
6. Get regular exercise but avoid exercise late at night.
Exercise is important, but exercising late at night will increase your energy, not prepare you for a good night’s rest.
7. Prepare your space
“Creating a dark, quiet, peaceful bedroom can help you sleep well so that you feel rested and at your best,” Dr. Kizilos says. “Make sure the temperature is comfortable. Usually, a cool room temperature with appropriate blankets for the season is most conducive to a good night’s sleep.”
“A dark, quiet, peaceful bedroom can help you sleep well so that you feel rested.”
Here's to better sleep
With these tips in mind we hope you can find a new routine that will give you the best possible night’s sleep.
Have a favorite nighttime ritual that helps you get the best sleep? Share with us in the comments.