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Resetting The Clock Linked To Health Risks: How To Ease Transition To Daylight Saving Time

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A recent study linked daylight saving time to a brief surge in people's risk for ischemic strokes. A team of Finnish researchers analyzed the data of over 3,000 patients who were hospitalized during the week following the daylight saving time transition.

They also looked into the medical data of nearly 12,000 patients who had stroke two weeks before and two weeks after the shift.

The study found that the total rate of ischemic stroke increased by 8 percent in the first two days after the daylight transition.

Here are some tips on how to ease transition to daylight saving time.

Take baby steps. Readjust schedules gradually, especially in children. Even if you move the clocks one-hour ahead, the body's internal body clock doesn't shift just as fast. You can't expect the body to just move one-hour ahead. A week before the time change, try to wake up a few minutes earlier each day until the body gets used to the earlier wake up call. At night, get to bed at least 15 minute earlier than normal. Take baby steps. You can't just switch your body to a new schedule in a snap.

"A lot of the time, when people suddenly go to bed an hour earlier they just can't fall asleep. But there are lots of ways you can adjust. You could try to go to bed an hour earlier every night for a few days," said Dr. Kelly Brown from the Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center.

No lazy weekend mornings. Weekend mornings are made for brunch in bed and sleeping in. However, you'll regret it when Monday comes. Try to stick to the same morning and evening schedule all throughout the week. Teaching the body to run like a well-oiled, timely machine will help you avoid the Monday blues.

Avoid long naps. For some people, long naps in the afternoon can be such a treat, especially for those who start their day very early. However, in the days leading to the time change, try to avoid indulging in long naps. Rather, limit your naps to 15 minutes, just enough to power up and make it through the late afternoon.

Avoid bright lights at night. We are all guilty of this: we shut down our laptops or TV and jump in bed with our smartphones. If you think Facebook and Instagram scrolling will make your sleepy, it's actually doing the exact opposite. These gadgets emit blue light and bright light that tell the brain it's time to wake up. Darkness signals the melatonin release, a hormone that helps people control their cycles for waking and sleeping. If you must, read a paper book instead.

Create a relaxing atmosphere. The bedroom should be a place for rest and relaxation. That's why some people avoid putting television or other entertainment gadget inside the bedroom. Create a sleeping area that is inviting and relaxing. Make sure no outside light can seep through the curtain cracks. A study found that bright street lights can mess up your sleeping cycle.

Let the sunshine in. Open the curtains or turn on the lights as soon as you wake up. Bright light can set the mood and help you shake off the last bits of sleepiness.

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