Time will fall back to standard time again on Sunday, November 4, 2012, when daylight saving time ends. For many, this may be an opportunity to catch up on an extra hour of sleep.
Some credit Benjamin Franklin for coming up with the idea of daylight saving time in 1784. Ben Franklin whose famous saying, “early to bed, early to rise”, may have been his attempt at educating people on the importance of sleep.
Why can’t we make sleep a priority? What do you put ahead of getting enough rest? Today, many people are dealing with endless responsibilities with work and family that sleep is a luxury and not a priority.
Raj Gupta, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep specialist on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital says that sleep deprivation has many negative effects on our mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation decreases our ability to perform daily tasks, impacts our 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,” says Dr. Gupta. “It’s important to acknowledge the roles that sleep plays in our daily lives, and recognize that how we feel, behave, think and perform is all related to the amount of sleep we get.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers these guidelines for better sleep:
Avoid “sleeping in” on the weekends, which makes it harder to wake up on Monday.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, meals and exercising four to six hours before 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 pre-school sleep between 11-13 hours a night, school-age children between 10-11 hours per night, and teens at least nine hours per night. For most adults, 7-8 hours a night is 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. Call 1-800-3-ADVOCATE (1-800-323-8622) or visit www.advocatehealth.com to find a primary care doctor or sleep disorders center near you.