It’s that wonderful time of year again, time to set your clocks forward an hour for daylight saving time! I love that starting on Sunday, March 8th we’ll get an extra hour of daylight, but as someone who loves getting eight plus hours of sleep a night, I hate how long it takes me to adjust to the time change. Sleep is so important to our overall wellbeing, and it can really wreak havoc on our lives without it. Dr. Michael Breus, also known as the Sleep Doctor joined me for an interview yesterday to discuss how we can adequately prepare for daylight saving time, the importance of sleep, the connection between sleeplessness and pain, and simple steps you can take to have a great night’s sleep.
Candace Rose: With daylight saving time in just a few days, what can we do to prepare for the time change?
Dr. Michael Breus: “One of the things I talk about with all of my patients is that what they want to do since they’re about to lose an hour of sleep, they may get even more sleep deprived than they already are. You maybe want to go to bed about a half an hour earlier and then sleep in for about a half an hour, that way you can catch up on that missed sleep pretty quickly and you shouldn’t have too many effects on Monday morning.”
Candace Rose: How important is sleep for our wellbeing?
Dr. Michael Breus: “It turns out that sleep is important for every aspect of our health whether it’s our thinking, our emotions or our physical nature – whatever it happens to be, sleep affects every organ system and every disease state. I can’t think of anything more critical than a good night’s rest.”
Candace Rose: Most of us have dealt with a few sleepless nights here and there. What causes sleeplessness?
Dr. Michael Breus: “Well, we think that maybe a little over half of the time it might have to do with things like anxiety, stress, or depression – things that are kind of weighing heavy on our mind. There’s also a physical nature to sleeplessness. I work in a pain center where I study the affects of pain on sleep, what we’ve learned is you don’t want to just hit the pain and you don’t want to just fix the sleep…you really want to fix the two of them together for a better overall outcome. That’s one of the reasons I partnered with Advil PM is we’re really trying to get the word out about how pain can affect your sleeplessness.”
Candace Rose: What can we do to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night?
Dr. Michael Breus: “There’s a lot of different things that I talk about with people.
Here are a couple of quick tips:
- Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. That consistency is something that your internal biological clock is really going to mesh to very well.
- Caffeine turns out to be a big thing. I ask people to stop drinking caffeine by about 2 pm in the afternoon. This gives the body enough time to get it out of the system so that it’s not affecting your sleep at night.
- Alcohol can play a big role. While alcohol does make people feel sleepy, it keeps them out of the deeper stages of sleep. Often times I’m asking people ‘It’s okay to have a glass of wine (even two) with dinner, but you want to wait about three hours before lights out.
- Another big one that a lot of people don’t know about is getting sunlight. It turns out that about 15 minutes of sunlight after you wake up in the morning helps reset that circadian clock and can really help quite a bit.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great tips, Dr. Breus. Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Michael Breus: “If you’re looking for more information you can go to AdvilPM.com. We have an entire video series and there’s even some free samples. I would recommend AdvilPM.com for people who are experiencing that sleeplessness due to pain.”