Developing a consistent routine will help in adjusting to clock changes

March 6, 2014

The arrival of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday means more sunshine in our days, but it also means we will lose an hour of sleep, an hour that most of us will have trouble getting back.

At least 40 million Americans have a chronic sleep disorder, and 20 million more sometimes have trouble with sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. This week is National Sleep Awareness Week.

Brandy Roane, PhD, of the Center for Sleep Medicine at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, said adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. For optimal sleep, Dr. Roane recommends consistent bedtimes and wake times seven days a week, and to avoid TVs, computers, smartphones and other sources of blue light 20 to 30 minutes before bed.

"Consistency is what’s important," she said. "The more you can get in a routine, the better your sleep will be."

Some tips to cope with Sunday’s time change:

  • As soon as you get up in the morning, turn on the lights inside or go outside.  Getting a nice dose of bright light in the morning just after waking helps your internal clock "get with the program."
  • Give yourself  a "no electronics" break before you get into bed by engaging in a bedtime routine that takes you toward your bedroom.

If you are having trouble sleeping and would like more information about the Center for Sleep Medicine, call 817-735-2337.

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