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Mar 6, 2019

Queens, New York

On Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 a.m., Daylight Saving Time, we advance our clocks forward an hour to better utilize sunlight. While many lament “the loss” of an hour’s sleep, setting our clocks forward one hour can indeed disturb our sleep patterns and leave us feeling groggy for several days.

“A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do to keep ourselves healthy,” said Joseph T. Cooke, M.D., chairman, Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “Healthy sleep can help your body better regulate blood sugar levels, keep your immune system functioning properly and even improve your heart health by decreasing stress.”

Dr. Cooke offers ten tips to help make sure Daylight Saving Time does not impact your sleep schedule.

  1. Know how you much sleep you need. Factors like your age and lifestyle determine how much sleep you need. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 6 to 13 should get nine to eleven hours of sleep, but anyone over the age of 18 is recommended to get seven to nine hours of sleep.
  2. Exercise. Just a moderate amount of exercise, thirty minutes a day, three times a week, can help you sleep much better. Just try to avoid heavy workouts two to three hours before your bedtime.
  3. Avoid stimulants before bed. Try not to ingest caffeine or other stimulants too close to your bedtime. Stimulants can disturb your regular sleep patterns.
  4. Eat a lighter evening meal. A dinner that is high in fat or a particularly spicy dish can lead to evening indigestion. Indigestion often contributes to insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night.
  5. Relax before bedtime. Try to create a more relaxing and quiet atmosphere prior to the time you go to bed. Calming activities like a warm bath, a good book or a cup of caffeine-free tea can help you have a better night’s rest.
  6. Put down the smartphone or tablet. Our smartphones and tablets emit what is called “blue light.” This spectrum of light can give our body the signal that it’s morning, making it difficult to get to sleep. Try putting down the smartphone or tablet before getting ready for bed.
  7. Gradually adjust. Try putting your children and yourself to bed about 15 minutes earlier than usual for a few days leading up to Daylight Saving Time. This will help you continue your regular pattern of sleep.
  8. Keep a regular routine. Try to keep a regular sleep routine during the work week and even during the weekends. Waking up the same time on the weekend as you do during the weekday will help reduce grogginess throughout your week, particularly on Mondays.
  9. Try a nap. If Daylight Saving time really has you lagging behind, a short mid-day nap (about 20 minutes) can improve your attention span, memory retention and leave you feeling refreshed, without impacting your regular sleep patterns.
  10. Get Up if You Can't Sleep. We've all had those nights when we can't fall asleep. Avoid watching the clock, which can create more anxiety. If you've been awake more than 20 minutes, get up, and do something relaxing like read a book, write in a journal or have some warm milk to help you get drowsy.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties.  Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually. For more information, visit nyp.org/queens