Ready to fall back an hour this weekend? Read this first
Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, Nov. 4. For some, the time change will mean another hour out on the town.
For others, turning back the clocks may offer an extra hour of much-needed sleep, although not enough to eliminate any major sleep debt from a chronically busy lifestyle.
Why can’t we make sleep a priority? What do you put ahead of getting enough rest?
For those who are dealing with the seemingly endless responsibilities of work and family, sleep may be a luxury – not a priority.
Dr. Muhammad Hamadeh, a pulmonologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., says that sleep deprivation has many negative effects on mental and physical health, including a decrease in one’s ability to perform daily tasks and impact in mood, reaction time and attention levels. Sleep deprivation can also lead to decreased productivity and injuries in the workplace.
“People tend to ignore the need for sleep in order to get other things done, but sleep is as important as any healthy lifestyle choice,” Dr. Hamadeh says. “One-third of our lives is spent sleeping. That is why it is important to acknowledge the role that sleep plays in our daily lives and recognize that our behavior and our ability to feel, think and perform are all related to the amount of sleep we get.”
The change in time also may interfere with one’s circadian rhythm, which is why some sleep experts suggest actually turning clocks to standard time on the Friday prior to the Sunday of the scheduled changeover to standard time. The extra day-plus in adhering to the time change, including eating meals and going to bed according to the new hours, can help better adjust the body before the normal work week begins on the following Monday, these experts say.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers these guidelines for better sleep:
- Avoid “sleeping in” on the weekends; “sleeping in” makes it more difficult to wake up at a more regular time on Mondays
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, heavy meals and exercise prior to bedtime
- Eat a small snack before bedtime to avoid going to sleep hungry
- Signal to your body that it’s bedtime by avoiding bright lights at night
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and cool
Sleep experts recommend that children in preschool sleep between 11 hours and 13 hours a night, school-age children between 10 hours and 11 hours and teens at least nine hours nightly. For most adults, seven to eight hours a night are recommended to achieve good health and optimum performance.
The AASM encourages people to discuss sleep-related problems with a primary care doctor or a sleep specialist.
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