Actually, sleep experts and the research they cite does indeed point to certain dangers. On average, it's estimated that people go to work or school on the first Monday of Daylight Saving after sleeping 40 fewer minutes than normal. And recent studies have found there's a higher risk of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries on the first Monday of Daylight Saving. It's hard to find any aspect of health untouched by sleep, says Ronald D. Chervin, M.D., a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and director of U-M's Sleep Disorders Center, in a recent press release. The brain of a person who does not get enough sleep--in quality and in quantity--is unable to operate efficiently. Health, emotions, memory and more are affected. It's enough to make you want to go to bed early, isn't it?
"Being prepared is important, especially if you need to be alert that day for any reason, particularly driving a car. Even one hour of sleep loss can affect some people," says Chervin.
"Many people already are chronically sleep-deprived, and Daylight Saving Time can make them even more tired for a few days," said Dr. Nidhi Undevia, medical director of the Sleep Program at Loyola University Health System. If this sounds like you, now's the time to do something.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your sleep, and some of them are pretty simple. Here are some tips from Chervin, Undevia and me:
- In the next few days, start going to sleep 10 to 15 minutes earlier, and getting up 10 to 15 minutes earlier as well.
- Don't nap on Saturday before the time change. (I normally recommend power naps as a way to catch up on missed sleep, but on Saturday, it may make it too difficult to go to sleep earlier.)
- Try to get some morning sun on your face, as early as possible. This can help reset your body's natural 'clock'. Taking a morning walk is a great way to start your day because it can get you moving and out in the sun. If the weather doesn't permit this, or if you just don't have the time for even a 15-minute walk, I suggest you sit on your porch or in front of your sunniest window with a cup of tea (peppermint can get you going in the morning naturally!) and mentally prepare for your day.
- Stress and Sleep Problems--Get Quality Sleep When Stressed
- Power Napping for Increased Productivity
- Stress and Sleep
- Healthy Habits for Better Sleep
- About.com's Sleep Disorders Site
Source: Ohlmann KK, O'Sullivan MI. The costs of short sleep. AAOHN Journal, September 2009.
Quizzes | Ongoing Resources