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Prisma Health offers guidance for “springing forward” in 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Pandemic may have increased stress, and sleep may be disrupted

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Prisma Health has released guidance to help families and individuals prepare for Daylight Saving Time and its inevitable effects on sleep. On March 14, time will “spring forward,” meaning clocks will move ahead one hour, and 60 minutes of sleep will be lost between Saturday and Sunday. Preparation is key to helping prevent time-change sleepiness, grogginess and irritability.

“Good sleep is a vital piece of leading a healthy life, and time change can be tough for both children and adults,” said Antoinette Williams Rutherford, MD, sleep medicine physician at Prisma Health. “It can throw off your sleep, appetite, attention span and mood. This is especially risky if you are already sleep deprived or not getting quality rest at night.”

“Because of the pandemic, many of us may be experiencing increased stress and our normal routines may have been disrupted due to spending more time at home. All of this can affect our sleeping habits,” added Rutherford. “There’s no better time than now to begin prioritizing a good night’s rest so that you can wake up to an energized mind and body.”

Rutherford offers the following tips to help improve your sleep as you adjust over the next few weeks:
  • Begin transitioning now. It is best to make small adjustments beforehand, like going to sleep 15 minutes early for a couple of days then transitioning to 30 minutes early for a few more days, to allow your body time to make up for the hour it will lose.
  • Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Failure to get enough sleep can cause physical and mental health issues. Eliminate some of these risks by getting plenty of sleep on a regular basis.
  • Maintain your sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will not only help you better adjust to time change but will also improve your overall sleep quality. Remember to maintain this schedule on the weekends as well.
  • Get active. Regular exercise increases your sleep drive and improves your overall sleep quality. If possible, complete your workout at least two hours before your bedtime to allow your body to fully decompress.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. These substances can interfere with your sleep habits and make it harder to fall asleep, thus disrupting your sleep throughout the night and affecting your performance the next day.
  • Create a nighttime routine. The environment in which you fall asleep is an imperative part of your overall sleep quality. Your room should be cool and quiet, and you should limit your use of electronics at least 30 minutes before bed as they can hinder the production of melatonin—the hormone which helps you sleep. Instead of scrolling on your phone or watching tv, transition your brain to a calm, relaxed mindset by reading a book or listening to soothing music.
  • Avoid long naps. Even if you’re feeling sluggish, taking a long nap during the day could make it harder to get a full night’s sleep. If you must take one, make sure it is no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Soak up the sun. Your internal clock is set by light and dark patterns, not by what it reads on your watch. If you are unable to get outdoors in the morning, turn on a few lights in the house to help reset your circadian rhythm.
About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 physician practice sites, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually. Its goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit PrismaHealth.org.

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