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Gradual Adjustment to Time Change Lessens Impact of Daylight Saving Time
03/05/2009

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — This weekend, we will “spring forward” into daylight saving time. For many, daylight saving time means a disruption in their sleep pattern and an adjustment to their internal clock. The change in time is only one hour, but for our bodies, it is a huge adjustment.

“Not only can losing sleep cause physical affects,” said Karen Fincannon, cardiopulmonary director at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, “but it may take days for people to recover.”

The National Sleep Foundation reports that most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. But resetting the times we go to sleep and wake up is possible.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that people:

  • Try to sleep more than usual a few nights prior to and immediately following the time change. You can also take a nap in the afternoon on Sunday if you need it, but not within a few hours of your regular bedtime. Napping too close to bedtime can disrupt nighttime sleep.
  • Gradually advance your sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day for three to four consecutive days prior to the start of daylight saving time.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake time schedule.
  • Try a relaxing routine, like soaking in hot water, before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.

“Daylight saving time is a good reminder to check your sleep habits and make needed adjustments for a good night’s sleep throughout the year,” Fincannon said. “Simple tweaks to a person’s routine can help tremendously when it comes to getting the proper amount of sleep.”

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March. Move clocks ahead one hour at the start of daylight saving time. This year, daylight saving time begins on March 8 and ends on Nov. 1.

To learn more about National Sleep Awareness Week or to get more sleep tips, visit sleepfoundation.org.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women’s services, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care.

Texas Health Stephenville, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. The system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Texas Health Presbyterian hospitals, and a medical research organization. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

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