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Return to Daylight Savings

Return to Daylight Saving Time Is Ideal Time To Assess Sleep Habits

With the return of Daylight Saving Time, the clocks will "spring forward" one hour - and most of us will lose an hour of sleep. That's par for the course for many Americans, who studies show, get less sleep than they need every day.

The RWJ Comprehensive Sleep Center and the National Sleep Foundation offer the following tips on how to get a good night's sleep this weekend and year-round:

  • By Thursday, start to gradually change your family's sleep and wake schedule so that you go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day in order to accommodate the time change by Sunday.
  • If you are sleepy on Sunday, a short nap can be helpful, but don't nap within a few hours of your regular bedtime to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment that is dark, cool, comfortable and quiet.
  • Have a relaxing routine before bedtime, such as soaking in a hot bath, reading for fun or listening to soothing music.
  • Set a consistent bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends, that allows for adequate sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for several hours prior to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.

In some cases, poor sleep habits may not be the only cause of a fitful night's sleep. A sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome or insomnia, may be the culprit. If untreated, sleep disorders can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, headaches and depression.