Safeguarding your ZZZs this Daylight Saving Time

In the wee hours Sunday morning, we will be springing forward for Daylight Saving Time! But for many, that also means falling even further behind with squeezing in those extra ZZZs.

For Thaddeus Mayo, a successful night's sleep has been a work in progress.  "I was waking up about 46 times an hour," he said.

A sleep test five years ago showed that mayo was never getting into the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycle - meaning the restorative sleep he needed was truly a dream.  "I would wake up in the morning and just be exhausted," he said.

Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana nurse practitioner Michelle Zimmerman treats patients, including Mayo, for a range of sleep problems.

Zimmerman says moving clocks forward an hour is tough, not only because we lose an hour of sleep - but also because it is brighter...later.  "You're going to delay your natural internal clock and the melatonin system, which would enhance your ability to be sleepy and drowsy at bedtime," said Zimmerman.

Shift workers, students and tired folks in general can adjust to the time change by making changes at home.  "Dimming the lights around the home, inside, that hour before you go to bed to try to just cue those internal cues that were supposed to be getting tired at the same time, even though it's lighter outside," said Zimmerman.

Pre-bedtime routines have also helped Mayo learn to unwind.  "If I'm tense or something from a day's work," said Mayo, "I'll take a shower, I'll read a book, watch some TV, just something that I don't need to be thinking about."

Mayo said the solid sleep has followed and it is something his wife is just as happy about! "Yes!" he said with a laugh, "it makes everything a whole lot better!"

Losing that hour of sleep will be easier if you can go to bed 15 minutes earlier over the next few nights. Another tip: eat breakfast next to a window with open blinds, to naturally alert your body that it's day time.

Reported by: Britney Glaser

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