Sleep Expert Provides Advice to “Fall Back” Gently and Survive the Winter Months
(Richmond, Virginia) – Daylight Savings Time ends in most of the United States and Canada, as well as portions of Mexico, at 2 a.m. on November 6, 2011. A medical sleep doctor and contributor to sleep advice website SleepBetter.org says the yearly “fall back” is easier than the time change in the spring, but cautions that it signals the beginning of darker months that can lead to issues for some.
“If you go to bed at your normal time on Sunday night, then you are staying up one hour later than your internal clock thinks it is, which is doable for most people,” said Dr. Lisa Shives, who is one of only a few practitioners with a fellowship in Sleep Medicine in addition to board certification by both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.. “In the spring, you need to go to bed an hour earlier than your body wants to, and no matter how hard you try it’s nearly impossible to will your body to sleep when it’s not ready.”
Shives says many individuals could benefit from the extra hour of sleep gained when the clocks turn back. She says, however, that the fall time change marks the beginning of shorter and darker days.
“Since sunlight is needed to keep your circadian rhythms on track, the fall and winter months can lead to sleeping difficulties and depression for many,” said Dr. Shives. “To combat this, be sure to get plenty of light in the morning and throughout the day. Natural sunlight is best, but if the days are cloudy or you’re up before the sun, turn on plenty of lights in the house and consider getting a light box.”
Dr. Shives says while adjusting to the time change (and even after you’re adjusted) avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt your normal sleep patterns.
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