From Baptist Health South Florida
3 min. read
“Daylight saving time” (DST) returned officially on Sunday at 2 a.m. The “Spring forward” time of year means we lose an extra hour of sleep. But for those who suffer some degree of a sleep disorder year-round, it’s not just about losing or gaining one hour in the Spring and Fall.
Disrupted sleep cycles — or just not getting enough sleep — can contribute to being overweight and worsen chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Every patient’s sleep disorder is unique and requires specialized attention. But there are a few factors that contribute to common disorders fueled by a lack of sleep, from insomnia to occasional sleep disruptions, says Timothy Grant, M.D., the medical director of Baptist Sleep Center at Sunset. (Here’s more information on Baptist Health Sleep Centers.)
Hectic work and family schedules during weekdays fuels the popular practice of “sleeping in” on weekends, or sleeping later than usual. But even that break in the routine, which may seem beneficial, may actually contribute to chronic sleep problems, says Dr. Grant, who is a neurologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“That wreaks havoc on your internal clock,” says Dr. Grant. “Even though you can’t go to sleep at exactly the same time, it’s best not to change it dramatically from the weekdays to the weekend.”
There are other somewhat surprising factors — including caffeine consumption early in the day, mid-day naps and exercising late in the day — that can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to insomnia or intermittent sleep disruptions, says Dr. Grant.
“A lot of things have caffeine and people don’t know it,” he says. “Like energy drinks that people consume during the day. And as you get older, sometimes caffeine can have an effect on you 10 hours later. So you can have a cup of coffee with your lunch, and it can keep you up later at night. Again, that depends on the patient.
Napping in the afternoon can backfire as well. “Naps aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you have insomnia, a nap can reset your clock so you get this second-wind phenomenon. and you feel great,” explains Dr. Grant. “But then you have trouble falling asleep at night. ”
As is generally accepted, regular exercise prolongs life and can help treat or prevent heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. But the time of exercise routines should be carefully planned.
“Exercise is great for every single age,” says Dr. Grant. “But you don’t want to exercise too close to the time you want to fall asleep. Because exercise has revved you up and it makes you feel like you can’t go to sleep. You want to exercise at least a couple of hours or longer before you want to fall asleep.”
Healthy Sleep Tips
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), taking the following steps can lead to a better night’s sleep and improve overall health:
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