Get Healthy Sleep, In Spite of the Time Change

2020 Sleep Poll Shows High Levels of Sleepiness and Low Levels of Action

March 9, 2020—Like it or not, Daylight Savings Time is here. Setting your clock forward—and losing one hour—can impact your sleep, and therefore your health.

According to Dr. Anuj Chandra, medical director of the Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders, research shows that the spring time change can cause increased driving accidents, increased workplace accidents, lower school performance, and even a small increase in heart attacks.

“We tend to think of the time change as an annoyance, but it can really cause problems,” said Dr. Chandra. “The problem is disrupting your sleep-wake cycle, not just losing an hour.”

Here’s Dr. Chandra’s advice on how to adjust to the time change:

  • Get regular exercise—“Your body needs it anyway, and it helps to make you tired at bed time, even if your body isn’t quite used to the new time,” said Dr. Chandra.
  • Go to bed and wake up on a schedule—“Research confirms that changing your bed time—even as little as a half hour—means you do not sleep as well, so find a time that works for you and stick to it,” said Dr. Chandra.
  • Be patient—“It can take up to a week to get used to the new time, so be patient with yourself,” he added.

Recently, the National Sleep Foundation released the results of its 2020 Sleep in America poll:

  • Lots of people are sleepy—44% of survey respondents felt sleepy 2–4 days per week and 28% felt sleepy 5–7 days a week. On average, women are sleepier than men, reporting 3.4 sleepy days per week, compared to 2.7 for men.
  • Sleepiness impacts health—55% say feeling sleepy makes them irritable, 36% report headaches, and 33% feel generally unwell. And people who report 5–7 sleepy days have twice as many of those issues as people who are sleepy 2–4 days.
  • We’re not addressing the problem—What do we do to cope? Not much:

62% said they try to “shake it off”

35% get some fresh air

33% grab a coffee

31% take a nap

30% drink a soda or caffeinated drink

22% eat a sugary snack

“Caffeine and sugar might help you feel a little more alert for a short time, but they don’t solve the problem,” said Dr. Chandra. “Healthy sleep is as important as exercise and good nutrition. There is no substitute.”

Link for sleep foundation:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org

Link for sleep poll:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/professionals/sleep-america-polls/2020-sleepiness-and-low-action

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