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As We “Spring Ahead” for Daylight Saving Time, Sleep Problems Increase

A Clinical Sleep Educator Gives Tips for Sleeping Well Every Night

LANGHORNE, Pa., March 6, 2014 – Saturday, March 8,is the time to “spring ahead" with the advent of Daylight Saving Time (DST). With the added daylight also comes the adjustment to the new schedule, which is even tougher for those already having sleep difficulties.

“Normal sleep patterns for both children and adults can be disrupted during this time,” says Robert Allen III, Manager of the Sleep/Wake Disorders Center at St. Mary Medical Center and a Registered Sleep Technologist. “And if you are already sleep-deprived, this time change will be even more of a challenge, leading to decreased performance, concentration, memory, and daytime fatigue.”

Allen says there are steps you can take to minimize the sleep loss and enjoy the benefits of healthy sleep and productive days during the first days of DST:

  • Reset all your clocks before you go to bed Saturday night and wake at your normal time on
    Sunday morning. Resist the temptation to catch a nap on Sunday.
  • Make sure to get plenty of natural light exposure early in the day to help set your circadian rhythm; similarly, at night, make sure to keep your bedroom free of any light that signals your brain to wake up.
  • Refrain from eating, consuming alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine near bedtime.
  • Maintain good “sleep hygiene.” Keep your bedroom between a cool 60 to 67 degrees, free from distractions, quiet and dark.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule – wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, including weekends.

“Most people will be able to adjust to DST within a few weeks,” says Allen. “Those who have sleep problems all year long should visit their primary care physician to discuss alternatives, and if warranted, see a sleep specialist and get a sleep study to get to the root of the problem.”

About the St. Mary Sleep/Wake Disorders Center

The St. Mary Sleep/Wake Disorders Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and also is Joint Commission-certified. It is one of the few centers nationwide to have received both of these quality distinctions. Under the medical direction of board-certified sleep specialists, the center deals with all phases of sleep disturbances and disorders. The Sleep/Wake Disorder Center is proud to serve the Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia areas. Pediatric sleep studies also are offered.