Adults, Children with Sleep Sensitivities May Find Time Change Disruptive

By: Patricia Keith

????????????????????????????????????????The average person spends one-third of his or her life — or about 20-plus years –  sleeping. This Sunday, many will gain an hour as clocks are “set back” to standard time from Daylight Savings Time.

But some adults and children with sleep sensitivities may find the change disruptive.

“If you’re the parent of a baby who is getting up at 6 a.m., it means he will now awake at 5 a.m.,” says Mehrdad Ghaffari, M.D., a sleep expert with UPMC Altoona Sleep Center in the Station Medical Center. “A child isn’t like a clock that you can instantaneously change. However, the transition can be made easier with good sleep hygiene and some adjustments to the family schedule in the days preceding and following the switch.”Here are ways to enhance sleep quality, from the National Sleep Foundation and the UPMC Altoona Sleep Center:

  • A dark cool, noise-free room. Ideal sleeping temperature is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Use room-darkening shades/curtains and eliminate lights from electronics, such as a digital display from a radio, clock or other device.
  • Keep to a consistent bedtime and wake up time, even on weekends.
  • Avoid sleep disruptors: heavy meals, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.
  • Create a soothing bedtime ritual, such as reading before bed.
  • Avoid computer and cell phone use and TV viewing as the bright light from these devices can be disruptive.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid day time napping.

Journalists: For more information or to talk to a UPMC expert about the time change, contact Patricia Keith at or 814-889-2622.