It’s that time of the year when most people will rejoice at the idea of getting an extra hour of sleep due to the end of Daylight Saving Time on November 2. But for others, the time change will mean a disruption in their sleep schedule.
Jay McGuire, manager of the University of Louisville Physicians Sleep Center and a registered sleep technologist, said although the body is great at remembering an individual’s sleeping habits, a disruption can make it hard for people to get some shut eye.
“Whenever you disrupt that schedule some people just have a much more difficult time than others being able to accommodate that,” he said.
McGuire said exposure to natural light plays a central role in regulating a sleep schedule. Light rays influence chemistry and behavior and keeps humans in sync with the ebb and flow of the day, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
McGuire suggests having a regular wake time instead of going to bed at the same time every night.
He also said that people should avoid dependency on sleep aids to compensate for lost hours of sleep.
“Medication can be a short term fix. However, it’s usually better to address the individual issues that are causing your sleeplessness rather than just taking a pill to knock you out,” McGuire said.
People should focus on sleep hygiene–the practices necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and daytime alertness– to ensure the best sleep experience, according to McGuire.
“Pay attention to the way you’re feeling during the day. If you’re consistently tired and you’re noticing that you’re excessively fatigued most of the time then more than likely you’re not getting enough sleep, or there’s something that’s disrupting your sleep to the point that you’re feeling that daytime sleepiness,” he said.
McGuire said to avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and electronic devices like televisions, cell phones and tablets before bed. He also said regular exercise can contribute to a restful night.
On Sunday, set clocks back an hour at 2 a.m.