Help for Daylight Saving Time Sleep Problems

Posted on: March 6, 2014

Spring Forward with Ease

By Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, Director, Center for Sleep Medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital

Dr. Rudrarju PraveenThe hour time change will affect some people more than others due to difficulty adjusting their circadian rhythm. By altering the clock our internal clock becomes out of sync or mismatched with our current day-night cycle. Here are a few tips that might help you ‘spring ahead’ with ease:

•           For two weeks after the time change, wake up five to 10 minutes earlier every two to three days.

•           Exercise 30 to 40 minutes in bright light (before 5 p.m.) daily.

•           Eat well-before bedtime (at least three to five hours).

•           Don’t drink caffeinated beverages after noon.

•           Limit alcohol to one drink with dinner and do not have alcohol after dinner.

•           Stop any computer activity an hour before bedtime. Instead, relax by reading, listening to quiet music or watching TV.

•           Stay out of your bedroom until bedtime. If possible, do not work in your bedroom.

Certain foods are associated with better sleep: Warm milk, bananas, nuts, and carbohydrates like bread and crackers. Foods that should be avoided close to bedtime include caffeine, alcohol, and fat- and protein-rich foods.