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Doctors Offer Sleep Tips for Daylight Savings

Update Date: Nov 01, 2013 04:56 PM EDT
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Daylight savings will happen 2 a.m. this Sunday, which means that Americans will get an extra hour to do whatever they want this weekend. While an extra hour is great for most people, experts warn that time changes can disrupt the body's circadian rhythm. 

"For the body, the time changes are like jet lag-they sleep-deprive the patient at the time of the time changes," said Dr. Jordan Josephson, a sinus, snoring and sleep apnea specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York, according to HealthDay. "Even an hour changes your circadian rhythm and this can give you problems for weeks."

However, other experts say that people can adjust to into Standard Time by preparing for the time change a bit earlier.

"The most important thing is to try to change one of the clocks on Friday and start following that clock to eat meals, sleep and wake according to that clock. When Monday comes you will be better adjusted," Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York told HealthDay.

Josephson recommended that people also "exercise extra heavily the day of the time change and a few days to follow, to make sure that your body is tired so that you will have an easier time falling asleep."

He added that problems like sinus issues, snoring or sleep apnea can also be worsened by the time change.

While most people will enjoy the extra hour of sleep this weekend, doctors say that this may not be enough to help pay back sleep debt.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, chronic sleep deprivation can affect a person's reaction time, mood and attention levels. These deficits can lead to decreased productivity, increased stress and health problems.

AASM sleep experts recommend that people avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or heavy meals close to bedtime. However, people should also avoid going to bed hungry. Adhering to a consistent bedtime routine, and keeping the bedroom quiet, dark and cool may also help people get good rest.

As winter is approaching, Rudraraju recommends people to spend more time outside during the day and to dim the lights in the evening so that their bodies understand it's time to relax and rest. 

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