Located within the brain, our "biological clock" determines when we feel alert and when we are sleepy. It keeps our bodies synchronized with the daily light-dark cycle, and is fixed to the time of day by our wake-up time and our exposure to sunlight during the day. It can be reset, but it does not do so quickly. With Daylight Saving, wake-up times will now be dark, making it even more difficult for the internal clock to adjust. People are left feeling tired for more than the one day on which the clocks change.
People who normally sleep well can usually adjust to the time shift with relatively little trouble. However, if someone has been dealing with an undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorder, the time change can worsen and/or unmask problems like sleep apnea, insomnia or restless leg syndrome. The Valley Hospital Center for Sleep Medicine offers the following tips to help you get a good night's sleep and adjust to the time change:
• A short nap can help make up for less sleep, but don't nap within a few hours of bedtime.
• On the nights shortly after the time change, go to bed at your usual time.
• Avoid sunlight or bright light in the first few evenings after time change to avoid difficulty getting to sleep.
• Get up at your usual time and get sunlight exposure soon after waking up in the first few days after the time change to help the body adjust.
• Create a sleep-friendly environment and have a relaxing routine before bedtime.
• Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for several hours prior to bedtime.
Please call 201-251-3487 and press 3, to Valley's Center for Sleep Medicine. Please include your name and phone number. Our Center will call you, discuss your insurance coverage and other information, and then promptly refer you to a doctor on Valley's staff.