RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Daylight saving time ends at 2:00 a.m. this 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 as disruptive to our bodies as "springing forward."
Daylight saving time originated as an attempt to save energy during World War I. Contrary to popular conception, farmers generally do not support daylight saving time; they work around the sun regardless of the time. The spring shift to daylight savings time is associated with increased risks for heart attacks and strokes; no such rate hikes have been noted when daylight saving time ends.
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.
- 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 disturbed sleep, daytime drowsiness or fatigue, speak to your doctor or consult with a sleep medicine specialist.
Click here to learn more about Valley’s Center for Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Jeffrey P. Barasch is the medical director for The Center for Sleep Medicine at The Valley Hospital.