Friday, November 5, 2010

Resist Temptation and Use the Fall Back Hour for Sleep

Sunday at 2 a.m. marks the unofficial start of winter as daylight savings time ends and standard time returns. Until the second Sunday of March, sunset will comes an hour early everywhere but Hawaii, Arizona and parts of Indiana.

Few look forward to the shorter days, but the silver lining is the extra hour of personal time that comes with the switch. Instead of extending your evening activities go to bed and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.

Spurn sleep and lengthen your Saturday nightcap and you may be sorry when Monday comes around and you return to your responsibities.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports sleep debt can lead to decreased productivity and increased family stress. Fall back weekend is the perfect time to chip away at accumulated sleep debt.

Set your alarm before going to bed at a normal hour, and wake up at the same time as you normally would. If you can, take it easy on Sunday and get to bed at a normal hour to get the winter off on the right foot.

A few other tips for the time change:

Early morning sunrises will make a brief and welcome return. Before they go away again consider getting a light box to simulate sunrise for a more pleasant wake-up during dark winter mornings. It’s normal to have a difficult time waking up early feeling energized when and it might as well be midnight outside. Clinical sleep specialists often recommend light boxes for treatment of insomnia or shift work disorder.

Apple iPhone users may want to use an extra alarm. Last week, countless owners of the popular smart phone overslept by a full hour because the phone’s internal clock never turned back an hour for Europe’s daylight savings. In all likelihood, Steve Jobs and AT&T won’t let that happen twice. But better to be on the safe side. Same goes with any cell phones, computers or electronic devices with an automatic internal clock.

For more information about the switch from daylight savings time, read last years coverage on the Sleep Education Blog.

Photo by rappensuncle

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