RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. this upcoming Sunday, which means setting our clocks back an hour and -- for many of us -- enjoying an extra hour of sleep.
Thanks to that extra hour, "falling back" isn't nearly as disruptive to our bodies as "springing forward." Our circadian rhythms, or our bodies' natural biologic clocks, can usually adjust quickly to the additional hour. Because the biologic clock is slightly longer than 24 hours, it is usually much easier to sleep an hour later than to get up an hour earlier.
If you are among the millions of Americans who report trouble getting a good night’s sleep, these healthy sleep tips might help:
- Create a sleep-friendly environment that is dark, cool, comfortable and quiet.
- Have a relaxing routine before bedtime, such as soaking in a hot bath, reading or listening to soothing music.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for several hours prior to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.
- If you are having difficulty sleeping, avoid spending excessive time (more than 20 minutes) in bed while awake. It is better, for long-term quality sleep, to listen to music oR read in a chair than tossing and turning in bed.
- Get up at your usual time on a regular basis. Although you may find this a bit difficult, iT will help you adjust to the time change.
Underlying sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy) can be exacerbated by seasonal clock changes. If you regularly experience daytime drowsiness, fatigue or disturbed sleep, speak to your doctor or consult with a sleep medicine specialist.
Aside from the sleep considerations, these twice-yearly clock adjustments are a good reminder to replace the batteries on home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, test all detectors and replace older models.