Society is already chronically sleep deprived. Springing ahead for daylight saving time on March 10 creates even more problems for the estimated 50 percent of the population with some type of sleep disorder. “Losing an hour puts our internal clocks on a different cycle,” says Dr. Michelle Drerup of the Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center. “Accident rates are significantly higher and there are more cardiovascular events the day after daylight saving time begins.” With the clock-changing day launching the Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week, we asked Drerup for some ways to combat those long nights of tossing and turning.
Stick to a schedule. While we tend to go to bed earlier during the week, sleep schedules often get sporadic on the weekend when socializing becomes a priority. “We call it ‘social jet lag,’ ” says Drerup. “Trying to keep to a consistent schedule as much as possible will help regulate your body clock.”
Put down the tech. As 71 percent of people sleep next to their phone, technology’s constant pull is reducing our sleep time. Many sleepless people compound the problem by distracting themselves with their phones. “We never used to have our computers and phones in bed with us,” says Drerup, who suggests putting the phone down 1 hour before you want to fall alseep. “People use their phones as alarm clocks, but I recommend getting a real alarm clock and putting your phone to bed.”
Chill out. The majority of Drerup’s patients suffer from insomnia due to stress-related issues, which result in fatigue, mood swings and cognition problems. “Worrying about sleep is the exact opposite of the natural sleep process,” she says. “There is no magic pillow or magic bed but white noise, meditation and relaxation apps are helpful.” Another tip — keep your thermostat between 62 to 67 degrees at night for optimal sleeping conditions.