The Importance of Sleep and Mental Health
Tips to Protect our Mental Health with Daylight Savings Time
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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – Sleep Awareness Week begins on March 12 at the start of Daylight Savings Time, when Americans lose an hour of sleep. This week raises awareness to the benefits of sleep on our mental health and serves as an important reminder about the importance of sleep and the impact it has on how we feel and perform daily. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sleep Awareness Week. More information including practical tips to help people get enough of the quality sleep they need can be found on the National Sleep Foundation website.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the transition into and out of Daylight Saving Time increases the risk of sleep disruption, mood disorders, and suicide. Another study found that the transition to standard time increases the number of depressive episodes by 11%. A possible explanation is that time change disrupts our circadian rhythms. That is our body’s internal clock that runs on a 24-hour cycle. One of the most important circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle, which influences when we feel tired, fall asleep and wake up. Another impact is the alteration in our normal pattern of daylight exposure. So, a one-hour change disruption in this cycle can have a serious impact on mood and even increase our anxiety. The shift to daylight saving time in March, in particular, can lead to reduced sleep quantity and quality
In short, the switch to daylight saving time shouldn’t be taken lightly. Paying attention to sleep hygiene is especially important this time of year.
Here are some practical tips for sleep hygiene:
- Maintain a fixed sleep schedule on both weekdays and weekends
- Keep a stable routine to get ready for bed each night
- Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially in the afternoon and evening
- Go “device free” for at least 30 minutes before bed
- Block out unwanted noise and light from your bedroom and/or use accessories like a sleep mask and ear plugs
- Choose a supportive mattress and comfortable bedding
To learn more about County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness, please visit http://countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness. For assistance accessing Behavioral Wellness services, call the 24/7 toll free Crisis Response and Services Access Line at (888) 868-1649.