Tick, Tock…Time to Move that Clock!

Spring forward sounds so chipper.  My last blog detailed the fact that I don’t sleep very well. I’m not so sure how much “pep in my step” I will have when we lose that hour of sleep this coming weekend either.  But it’s not just the grogginess that comes with the time change.  According to statistics, due to the loss of sleep and increased stress from exhaustion, automobile accidents and heart attacks increase dramatically. Scientists have found that on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins heart attack rates increase by an astonishing 24 percent.  But take heart! These practical tips can help avoid knocking your natural circadian rhythm completely out of whack.

Tips for adjusting to daylight saving time from agingcare.com

  • Get some sun: Exposure to natural sunlight helps regulate your body’s natural rhythms. Depending on where you live, the weather may be too cold to spend too much time outside, but you can at least pull up the shade and sit in front of the window for a few minutes.
  • Work up a sweat: Engaging in some form of cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming) in the late afternoon or early evening may help you fall asleep easier.
  • Develop an appetite for good sleep: Eating and drinking can actually disrupt your sleep. Plan to finish meals and snacks 2 to 3 hours before bedtime because digestion wakes up your body. Alcohol and caffeine are also “sleep interrupters” when consumed before bed. Limit caffeine to the morning and finish your alcohol consumption by early evening. Smoking before bed can also stimulate your body and make it hard to sleep.

It’s important to keep in mind that seniors may need more time to adjust to the transition. What is a minor annoyance for most adults could present a significant obstacle in the routine of older adults, particularly those living with dementia or other cognitive impairments.  Be sure to check on these individuals and make sure that they are getting adequate sleep and seek medical advice if you notice a problem.  Take small steps to prepare for the change for you and your loved ones and enjoy the longer hours of daylight and the warmer days.



How To Sleep Better: Tips To Getting A Good Night’s Sleep


How we feel during the day is directly related to how well we sleep at night.  If you have trouble getting to sleep each night, there simple things each of us can try to improve our ability to sleep at night.  Below are some suggestions:

  • Set a regular bed time: Go to bed at the same time each night.  Try to stick to this even during the weekends.  Choose a time that you would normally feel tired so you won’t toss and turn.
  • Wake up at the same time each day.  If you are in a good sleep routine, getting up at the same time each day will help keep the routine going.
  • Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for lost sleep, try to take a nap during the day rather than sleeping late.
  • Be smart about napping. While napping can be a great way to recharge, for some, especially older adults, napping may make insomnia worse.  If you do nap, do it in the early afternoon and limit to 30 minutes.
  • Increase your light exposure during the day. Spend more time outside if possible and let as much light into your house as possible.
  • Turn off your TV or computer. Set a specific time each evening to turn off the TV and/or computer and stick with it.  Listen to music or read a good book instead.
  • Don’t read from a backlit devise just before bed. If using an e-reader that is backlit, turn off the light and use another source of lighting when reading.
  • Change the light bulbs in your bedroom. Eliminate bright light bulbs, use a lower wattage and try a bulb with more of a yellow cast rather than a blue cast to the light.  This helps your body relax and prepare to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and as dark as possible.
  • Cut down on caffeine in the evenings, try to avoid large meals just before bed and limit alcohol intake.

Not every tip above works for every person.  The important thing is to try to have a structure and routine to your evenings.  Try to begin to relax and prepare for bed, allowing your body time to wind down and begin to get ready for sleep.  Keep working at it till you find the right combination that works for you.