Healthy sleep is an integral part of our overall health. It helps our body and brain to function effectively. Lack of sleep can cause a lot of problems and negatively affect many parts of our body and brain, including emotions, learning, memory and a number of biological functions. There are numerous people across the globe who experience serious problems with falling or staying asleep.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and it was estimated that around one-third of all adults suffer from symptoms of insomnia. However, only 6 to 10 adults experience symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed with insomnia disorder.
As was mentioned above, shortage of sleep can have a negative impact on your overall health as well as negatively affect your regular activities. A lot of people underestimate sleep disorders but it is highly important to address this issue Searching for an experienced doctor, specialized in the field of sleep disorders is equally important as searching for a sports injury specialist for athletes, for instance. The following section of this article depicts the main tips on how to prepare your body for daylight saving time.
Experts emphasize on the fact that daylight saving time might have severe consequences, including heart attacks and increased risk of traffic accidents. All of the aforementioned is associated with losing the seasonal hour of sleep, known as the DST (Daylight Saving Time) effect. Because of this effect, people might experience mood fluctuations, which are prone to happen in people with mental health conditions and people who take certain medications.
Thus, it is extremely important to plan ahead and make minor adjustments before the time changes. This will minimize all the risks associated with daylight saving time. Below, you can find several tips on how to ease the transition.
Your internal clock plays a crucial role in regulating the cells in the heart, lungs and the brain. If they signal each other at the wrong time or if hormones are released at the wrong time, the overall health behaviour of a person might be damaged. Specialists say that it is very important to prepare our body for daylight saving time.
You can eliminate the shock of your internal system caused by the DST effect by resetting your internal clock over a few days rather than a single night. You should help yourself adjust that clock so when the time changes, your body does not feel the difference that much.
However, there are a lot of people who struggle with resetting their internal clocks. One recommendation for overcoming this problem is getting exposed to natural bright light when starting your day. It will assist in setting your clock so your circadian rhythms can get in line. It is also advised waking up earlier the week before the “spring ahead” time changes and going for walks. It will increase daylight exposure and assist in regulating your circadian rhythm.
If you are the kind of person who consumes caffeine a lot, you should regulate your caffeine intake the week before a time change. It will help you to accomplish the goal of resetting your internal clock. Specialists say that people should stay away from drinking coffee after noon and slowly reduce the total amount of caffeine consumed in the days leading to dayling saving time.
Caffeine can interfere in the process of going to bed earlier each night. It is also recommended to decrease caffeine consumption prior to the time change by going for half-caffeinated coffees or a mix of regular and decaf coffee. Your eventual goal should be no caffeine intake after midafternoon in order to promote healthier sleeping at night. You should not forget about the hidden sources of caffeine including iced tea and orange sodas, chocolate ice cream and chocolate milk. All the aforementioned can cause sleep problems.
Specialists say that people should commit to putting their electronics away at least one hour before going to sleep. It is mainly explained by the fact that blue light from screens can suppress our melatonin production. Melatonin is a substance that our pineal gland produces and that signals us when it is time to go to bed. Therefore, it is highly recommended to eliminate the usage of electronic devices including e-readers, cell phones, tablets, laptops and television.
There are a lot of people who do things that stimulate their brain before going to sleep. This can also make it extremely difficult for you to fall asleep. Thus, before adjusting your internal clock, you should take into consideration the amount of time you spend on electronics before going to bed. As an alternative, you can swap your nighttime screen for other activities including crossword puzzles, playing with pets or paperback reading. Cutting out 10 to 20 minutes of screen each night until you reach a full hour of screen-free time can also help.
However, it can be also the case that some people require a certain time for work. If this is the case for you, 10 to 20 minutes reduction each day at night can be compensated by early morning hours. When it comes to teens, studies show that the loss of sleep during the school week is associated with a decrease in cognitive function and vigilance, which in turn, raises safety concerns for teen drivers. Recent research depicts that there was a 6 percent increase in fatal traffic caused by a spring ahead transition. It is highly important to make your own due diligence in order to help your family members adjust to the upcoming change.
How can parents stimulate teens to control their internal clock?
In the vast majority of cases, it is a challenge for parents to get their teens to care about their circadian rhythms. Specialists say that the best way to start with is by explaining the benefits. You, as parents, should not tell them what to do, but rather stimulate to try at least one of the previously suggested ideas.
If you manage to make your teen try one of these modifications for 7 to 10 days, it will be sufficient time for them to feel that they have their sleep behaviour under control. When they start feeling that their sleep is under complete control, they will feel much better and experience all the benefits associated with these modifications.
It will be also great if your teen can engage their social network in shifting their schedule with them. By doing this, they will have more commitment to shifting their schedule. It can be also helpful if your whole family will commit to doing the same thing together. As parents, you should be giving good examples, thus, eliminating the usage of electronic devices after 9 p.m. can be very powerful and effective.
It is also worth mentioning that there are a lot of people who are not able to make changes to their internal clock and suffer serious problems caused by lack of sleep. It is never late to seek professional help. As was mentioned above, looking for a professional in the field of sleep disorders is as essential as looking for a sports injury doctor if you got injured.