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Wake rested when Daylight Savings Time begins with sleep tips from BWFH

Image of woman hitting snooze button

On Sunday, March 11, at 2 am we will adjust our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Savings Time (DST). The change means more sunlight in the evening hours, but it also results in a night of lost sleep. According to Salma Batool-Anwar, MD, MPH, sleep medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Sleep Medicine and Endocrinology Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, losing just that one hour can have a big impact on individuals.

“The majority of Americans report sleeping less than six hours per night, and recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized this as a public health epidemic. Losing another hour for DST is also contributing towards this epidemic and can have a huge impact on individuals already suffering from chronic sleep deprivation,” says Dr. Batool-Anwar. “In fact, a one-hour decrease in sleep has been linked to a short-term increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes (30 deaths per year). We can also see an increase in non-driving related accidents, suicide attempts and increased myocardial infarctions rates.”

Luckily, Dr. Batool-Anwar has tips to help you maintain a proper sleep schedule this spring:

Leading up to the DST transition, try to ensure you’re getting adequate sleep. You might also try going to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day in the week leading up to the scheduled DST transition. Similarly, try to wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day.

Avoid bright light in the evening and turn on a bright light when you wake up to help adjust your internal clock.

Follow good sleep hygiene recommendations, including avoiding caffeine, alcohol and exercise close to bedtime.

If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep with the start of Daylight Savings Time, call Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital at 617-983-7500 to request an appointment with one of our sleep specialists.

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