If “Spring Forward” Messes Up Your Sleep, Here Are 5 Tips for Better Sleep Throughout the Year

With everything going on in the world, let alone our bi-annual time change in March and November, it may be hard to establish healthy sleep habits. But it is more important than ever to make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene. Healthy sleep habits, or good sleep hygiene, is important for physical and mental health and overall quality of life.

“If you aren’t practicing good sleep hygiene, it may cause insomnia, frequent waking, and daytime drowsiness,” said Joe Kierzowski, RPSGT, lab manager at the McLaren Flint Sleep Center.


Here are five tips from sleep experts like Joe:


Follow a sleep schedule.

Experts recommend that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if it is a weekend or holiday. You can give or take about an hour - if you normally go to bed at 10 p.m., you should not go to bed more than an hour earlier or later.


“If you are going to bed and waking up at different times, this can affect your circadian rhythm,” said Joe.


According to the Sleep Foundation, your circadian rhythm is a natural 24-hour cycle that is part of your internal clock. In this instance, Joe is referring to your sleep-wake cycle.


No caffeine or nicotine five hours before bed.

Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can make it difficult to go to sleep after consuming them. It is best to avoid both a few hours before going to sleep.

Shut off electronic devices an hour or more before bed.

Cell phones and other electrical devices emit blue light, which restrains the production of melatonin. This hormone controls your circadian rhythm and affects when you feel tired and awake. It is best to put down the devices an hour or so before going to sleep.


Create a good bedroom environment.

Making a comfortable sleeping space starts with your room. Make sure that your room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.


“It’s very important to have a good sleep environment,” said Joe. “Make sure that you are getting into bed and not falling asleep in a chair or on the couch.”


Wear comfortable clothing.

It is important to have a comfortable bed and sleepwear. Make sure you are not too hot or too cold, which could cause frequent waking at night.


If you have questions about difficulty sleeping, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Difficulties sleeping could be a sign of a serious health issue.  


If you are looking for a new primary care physician, click here for a list of McLaren primary care physicians accepting new patients within 2 to 4 weeks.