Sunday is March 10th start of daylight-saving time which will throw off the clock only by an hour, but many times that’s enough to leave people feeling groggy for a day or two. Setting clocks ahead an hour, causes us to lose an hour of sleep that night; daylight saving time allows us more light through the spring, summer, and fall. Some people will be more sluggish than others Monday morning — particularly those without regular sleep habits, such as waking up at a consistent time or snoozing seven to eight hours each night.
Sleep directly affects health and safety and the sleep loss associated with daylight saving time has been linked to increases in traffic and personal
injury/accidents the Monday following the time change. Specialists encourage people to use this, the National Sleep Foundation’s National Sleep Awareness Week, to adopt good habits so that next year it won’t be quite so tiring to make the leap forward. Sleep doctors offer a few tips for making up for lost z’s:
— Start early. Move your schedule up a few minutes each day — eat dinner and go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier every night.
— Take a nap Sunday to “build up a little sleep in your sleep bank,” says Russell Rosenberg, board chairman for the National Sleep Foundation, noting that siestas should be less than an hour.
— Every minute counts, so set the alarm clock for the last possible minute Monday morning.
— Soak up the sun. Sunlight jump-starts our bodies and sets our internal clocks forward, so sip your coffee in front of a window for an extra jolt.
— Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which interfere with the hormones and chemistry that regulate our bodies and make it more difficult to fall asleep and wake up.
We need approximately 8-10 hours of quality sleep. Otherwise, inadequate hours of sleep will lead to sleep deprivation or sleep debt. Poll results show that while many Americans enjoy the benefits of sufficient sleep, as many as 47 million adults may be putting themselves at risk for injury, health, and behavior problems because they aren’t meeting their minimum sleep need in order to be fully alert the next day. Sleep deprivation also causes stress which weakens our immune system. Sleep deprivation and stress can upset your mental processes. One may suffer from confusion, memory loss, irritability or emotional highs and lows. Many seniors suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. Sleepy people are less focused on what they are doing or where they are going, and this could lead to falls or even to becoming lost on an unfamiliar street.
One of the keys to staying healthy is to be sure to get the sleep you need. Practicing good bedtime habits is a necessity for good health.