Ochsner Baton Rouge Physician Offers Tips to Adjust
BATON ROUGE – This weekend our clocks will fall back as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end. Most of us will make this transition with little problem aside from being one hour early to Sunday activities. However, for some people any adjustment to the sleep schedule can cause significant problems.
“Shift workers or adults who are chronically sleep deprived are especially at risk of experiencing difficulty with time changes,” says Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge Pulmonologist Alexander Mulamula, MD, who is fellowship trained in sleep disorders. “Rolling back the clock just one hour can be a challenge for these groups because they already experience frequent disruptions to their sleep patterns due to job schedules or because they are currently operating with a sleep deficit. Time changes can magnify these issues.”
Dr. Mulamula recommends the following tips to help with the time change and beyond:
• Maintain your daily routine in regards to meals, exercise and sleep to provide your body cues to adjust your internal clock to the time change.
• Get light exposure during the day.
• Spend one hour or more relaxing before falling asleep.
• Get moving. Exercise will enhance sleep and general well being. Schedule workouts so that there is still time to decompress before bedtime.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Take a bath. Relax. Rejuvenate.
• Do not eat a heavy meal right before bed.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed. Night shift workers may want to eliminate caffeine after midnight.
• Create a good sleep environment. Depending on your shift this may mean using room darkening blinds, reducing noise and alerting family and friends that you are sleeping.
He warns that an overall lack of sleep can result in a spike in work-related accidents, auto accidents and family and social problems. In addition, Dr. Mulamula says prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and digestive disorders. “Studies have shown that severe loss of sleep can have a reaction on the body’s immune system similar to that caused by stress. As a result, living in this constant state of sleep deprivation can weaken the body’s immune system and its ability to fight off illness,” he adds.
If you are getting the needed 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours of sleep but continue to struggle and find it hard to stay awake throughout the day, Dr. Mulamula recommends seeing your physician.
Ochsner Baton Rouge offers a range of sleep services, including sleep labs at Ochsner Health Center on Summa Avenue and Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge.
About Ochsner’s Baton Rouge services:
Ochsner’s Baton Rouge services include six local health centers and Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, a full service acute care hospital located at I-12 and O’Neal Lane. Ochsner employs more than 1,000 locally, including nearly 100 physicians. Ochsner Baton Rouge is a part of Ochsner Health System, southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system. For more information, please visit www.ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.