CLEVELAND – The beginning of daylight saving time marks the unofficial beginning of spring.
And while later sunsets are a welcome sight, what’s not so welcome is the tired, dragging feeling that follows a ‘lost’ hour of sleep.
According to Harneet Walia, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, people who already don’t get enough sleep will feel it the most.
“We, as a society, are already sleep-deprived,” said Dr. Walia. ”The average person requires at least 7-8 hours of sleep, on a daily basis, and we know the majority of us don’t get that much sleep.”
She said, luckily, the time change doesn’t come as a surprise, so there are steps we can take, ahead of time, to minimize the impact.
“We recommend a few days earlier than the time change, start going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier than your usual time,” said Dr. Walia. “That way, your body will adapt, slowly, but surely, when the time change occurs.”
For a good night’s sleep, it’s best to keep the room dark at bedtime and avoid looking at electronic devices.
The blue light from devices can suppress melatonin, which is a natural hormone of the body that promotes sleep.
For those who still feel sluggish in the morning, there are some other measures to try.
“We tell people to expose themselves to bright light in the morning – sunlight is a great thing,” said Dr. Walia. “If they’re feeling sluggish, caffeine is okay for that day, but not later in the day, because that can impair their sleep during the nighttime.”
Dr. Walia said it’s important to remember there is no substitute for sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause short-term impairments such as decreased concentration, lack of energy, and depressed mood. In the long-term, lack of sleep can put people at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.