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It's Back to Standard Time This Weekend

Early risers may struggle, but night owls have an opportunity to reset bedtimes, expert says


FRIDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- When the clocks slide back an hour this Sunday, some people may have trouble adjusting to the change.

Those most likely to struggle with the switch to standard time are so-called morning types, who tend to wake early in the morning and are sleepy early in the evening, experts say.

But for night owls, this weekend can be a boon.

"Every fall, when we set our clocks back, people with late sleep schedules have an opportunity to make their bedtimes one hour earlier," said Saul Rothenberg, a behavioral sleep psychologist at the North Shore-LIJ Sleep Disorders Center in Great Neck, N.Y.

"For those of you who like your usual bedtime, but have difficulty falling asleep, [standard time] will make it easier for you to fall asleep, if you stick to your usual bedtime after we set the clocks back," Rothenberg added.

The National Sleep Foundation offers some tips to help you adjust to the time change:

  • If you want to enjoy an extra hour of sleep, go to bed at your regular time on Saturday night, and wake up at your regular time on Sunday morning.
  • Give your body three to four days to adjust to the new time schedule.
  • Keep your bedroom as dark as possible and reduce the amount of light that will enter your room when sunrise occurs an hour earlier.
  • Reduce or avoid consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, all of which can make it more difficult for your body's internal clock to adjust to the time change.

Rothenberg noted that the time change isn't as dramatic as some might think.

"Remember that switching to [standard time] is like flying from New York to Chicago, not usually a difficult transition for most people," he said. "The less you worry about it or think about it, the faster you will adjust."

More information

The U.S. Institute of General Medical Sciences has more about sleep patterns.

SOURCES: Saul Rothenberg, Ph.D., behavioral sleep psychologist, North Shore-LIJ Sleep Disorders Center, Great Neck, N.Y.; National Sleep Foundation
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