HOUSTON, March 10 (UPI) -- People usually need three to four days to adjust to daylight saving time, but a U.S. expert advised some might be helped by a Sunday afternoon nap.
Dr. Aparajitha Verma, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, said "springing forward" affects the sleep patterns of more than 70 million Americans.
Ideally, people prepare for daylight saving time by getting up an hour earlier and going to sleep an hour earlier for several days before turning clocks ahead one hour to daylight saving time early Sunday morning.
However, Verma suggested taking a nap in the afternoon Sunday, but not within a few hours of bedtime because napping too close to bedtime can disrupt nighttime sleep.
To make it easier on the body to adjust to the new sleep time, Verma recommended:
-- Sleep in a quiet and dark environment and set the thermostat at a slightly cooler temperature.
-- Don't allow pets in the bed.
-- No reading, eating or watching TV in bed.
-- Don't watch the clock.
-- Set a "wind down" time prior to going to bed.
-- Don't take over the counter sleep aids and avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.
-- Exercise helps sleep, but not within 2 hours of going to sleep.