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Manitoba expert gives tips on getting a better sleep this daylight saving

Ruing daylight saving this Sunday?

Diana McMillan, associate professor at the College of Nursing in the University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, said one strategy for a smoother transition can start Friday night by going to sleep half an hour earlier.

“Then, when you wake up on Saturday morning, get up an hour earlier, have breakfast an hour earlier, and your lunch, and your dinner.”

She recommended getting outside for some exercise on Saturday, too.

“Get the whole family out, take the dog for a walk, or whatever, so that you are exposing yourself to that light, which will help entrain a new rhythm,” she said.

Meal times are also recommended to move because “we have peripheral clocks,” she said. One of these clocks relies on light, and the other has to do with digestion, McMillan said.

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“Get everything on board working in your favour so that by Sunday, when we’ve changed the time, you stick to that new hour. And you’ll find that you maybe made that transition a little easier and be alert for Monday morning,” she said.

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But the sleep expert said it can still be hard to make the jump.

“Globally, across all age groups, we are sleep-deprived,” McMillan said, adding this makes it harder to transition to daylight saving.

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“For some people, this shift isn’t really going to be too disruptive — it’s an hour. You sort of think, ‘Well, then how big could that be,’ right? But because we are so tired, we don’t have a lot of resilience. So even a small shift, with this time change, really almost tips people over,” she said.

Statistically, she said adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Kids between five and 13 need around nine to 11, and teens in the ballpark of eight to 10, McMillan said.

Not getting enough sleep “really predisposes us to feel irritable and more anxious, and little bit more depressed or at risk of that, and we don’t process information well,” she said.

Not only does it take an emotional toll, but lack of sleep can also cause “cardiovascular disturbances,” and “we almost predispose ourselves to being a Type 2 diabetic. We’re not regulating our blood sugar as well.”

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People who don’t get as much sleep are also more likely to “catch whatever bug is going around,” McMillan said.

She added that practising regular healthy sleep practices can make a world of a difference.

“You want to have a really quiet, calm bedroom environment where it’s darker (and) cooler,” she said, adding she doesn’t recommend keeping a TV or pets in the bedroom — or tax papers.

“A third of your life is spent sleeping. That’s a lot of time. We want to make sure that our bedroom and sleeping environment is supportive for good sleep.

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How to prepare for Daylight Saving Time

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