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Extra hour from time change can present sleep challenges PDF Print E-mail

Many Nebraskans have experienced a small version of jet lag without ever leaving their homes.

“The hour we gain when Daylight Saving Time ends has a similar effect on our bodies as the jet lag we experience if we fly to a different time zone,” says Leigh Heithoff, sleep technologist, BryanLGH Center for Sleep Medicine.

“Even though it is usually more difficult to adjust your sleep schedule in the Spring when we ‘spring ahead’, people shouldn’t discount the sleeplessness that may occur when we ‘fall back’,” says Heithoff. “For people with sleep problems, even a one-hour time change can be challenging.”

Solid snoozers can also find themselves wide-eyed at bedtime. According to Heithoff, if your normal bedtime is 10 p.m., that’s when your body is programmed for sleep. Once your clocks are set back to standard time, your body will be ready for sleep at 9:00 p.m.

The most important thing is to get on a regular schedule so your sleep rhythms will be in sync with the clock.

“A consistent sleep schedule is critical,” says Heithoff. “Avoid taking a nap during the day. This shifts your body’s sleep rhythm by sending the message that daytime is sleep time. Try to give your body a chance to adjust.”

The BryanLGH Center for Sleep Medicine is a state-of-the-art facility that specializes in sleep disorders.

For further information or to schedule an evaluation, call the Center for Sleep Medicine at 402-481-9646 or go to

A free, online sleep apnea risk assessment called Sleep Aware is available. The screening takes about seven minutes to complete and offers personalized, confidential information to help identify the risk for sleep apnea.