7 Ways for Seniors to Sleep Well During Daylight Saving Time

For many of us, daylight saving time offers the promise of longer days and more time spent outdoors in the warm sunshine of spring and summer. First conceived by Benjamin Franklin, daylight saving time was designed to extend the daylight hours so people could have more time to enjoy the more pleasant weather.

However, for many seniors, daylight saving time also portends sleep challenges, daytime grogginess and a reduction in mental acuity, which can lead to falls and medication errors. In fact, senior health experts tell us that the greatest problem seniors have with daylight saving time is loss of sleep. Terry Cralle, registered nurse and certified sleep educator with the Better Sleep Council, says, “Sufficient, restorative sleep is vitally essential to physical and psychological health and quality of life and should remain a high priority in the 60 and over crowd.”

Says Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Bryn Mawr Terrace, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, “While sleep loss rates as daylight saving’s top disrupter of seniors’ lives in the spring, the good news is there are several steps older adults can take to adapt to the time change and feel well rested.”

Tips for Seniors to Feel Well-Rested When the Clock “Springs Forward”

The National Sleep Foundation and other expert sources offer the following tips to help seniors get a good night’s sleep and cope with time “springing forward” when daylight savings begins in March.

  1. Seniors should prepare ahead of time for the start of daylight saving by going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than their usual bedtime.

  2. Exercise such as walking, jogging, biking or swimming in the late afternoon or early evening can help seniors to fall asleep easier. Also, exposure to natural sunlight helps to regulate the body's natural sleep-awake rhythms.

  3. Good sleep hygiene is also essential for senior adults. Experts advise that your sleep environment should be dark enough, cool enough and quiet enough when it’s time for bed. 

  4. Adjusting for the daylight saving time change, try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning. Sticking to a regular sleep pattern can help seniors keep their internal sleep cycles on track, despite the time change.

  5. Seniors should avoid stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol. Coffee can keep you up at night and drinking alcohol in the later evening increases the likelihood of awakening later in the night.

  6. Seniors should avoid watching TV, eating and even reading in bed as this can create problems in falling asleep. Sleep experts say our minds adjust to the habit of getting into bed for sleep, so adjust your habits accordingly.

  7. Seniors should avoid or limit daytime naps. Sleep in the daytime affects sleep at night. A short nap in the mid- to late-afternoon might give you energy in the second half of your day, but a nap can also decrease your nighttime sleep need so that it may take you longer to fall asleep or you may sleep for a shorter time.

 

Also, if you can't fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet relaxing activity such as reading or listening to music. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed and try again.

Janet adds, “By taking these daylight-saving sleep tips to heart, seniors can minimize the disruptions to their lives and feel well-rested for the longer, sunnier days ahead. Enjoy and sweet dreams!”

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.”

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If you have comments or questions about our blog, “7 Ways for Seniors to Sleep Well During Daylight Saving Time”, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

 Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living,  personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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