News Release

March 16, 2004

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

Do You Know the “Do’s and Don’ts” of Good Sleep Habits?

Farmington, Conn. - Benjamin Franklin was right. Some 200 years ago, he said a good night’s sleep helps to make a person “healthy, wealthy and wise.” Today’s medical research supports that theory and links poor sleep patterns with serious health problems such as high blood pressure and safety issues in the home, on the job and on the road.

During National Sleep Awareness Week, March 29 through April 4, experts at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the National Sleep Foundation are urging men and women to learn the basics of good sleep habits. National Sleep Awareness Week culminates on April 4, the day we adjust our clocks for Daylight Savings Time and “lose” an hour of sleep.

“We recommend an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night for most adults and even more sleep for children and teens,” said Daniel McNally, M.D., director of UConn Health Center’s Sleep Disorders Center and a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. “Meanwhile, recent studies show that most adults don’t get even near the minimum amount of sleep they need to be fully alert the next day.”

During National Sleep Awareness Week, Dr. McNally will present a free talk about successful sleep habits on Tuesday, March 30, noon to 1 p.m., in the Keller Auditorium (use main hospital entrance.) Also that day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free information about sleep disorders and the Health Center’s Sleep Disorders Center will be available in the Keller Lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call the Health Center at 800-535-6232.

“Making sleep a priority can be surprisingly easy to integrate into a busy lifestyle,” Dr. McNally said, noting that it’s important to take notice of the “do’s and don’ts” for better sleep.


  • Make time for sleep - block out between seven to nine hours of your daily activities for a full night of uninterrupted sleep. Remember, to have a healthy and safe day, you must first choose to get a good night’s sleep!
  • Set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet.
  • Get into bed only when you’re sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something you find relaxing such as reading. Return to bed when you feel sleepy.
  • If you have problems sleeping at night, a daytime nap is not recommended. A nap cannot replace a good night’s sleep. However, when circumstances limit your ability to sleep at night and you do need to nap, keep the nap short to avoid the groggy feeling that naps sometime cause, and to avoid interfering with your night time sleep schedule.
  • Talk to your doctor if you continue to have sleep problems.


  • Engage in stimulating activities right up to the time you expect to go to sleep.
  • Use the computer or watch television before going to bed. Research has shown that the light from the screen can disrupt your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, and cause you difficulty in falling asleep.
  • Eat or drink large amounts before bedtime. Alcohol is not a sleep aid; do not use it to try to help you fall asleep.
  • Exercise within three hours before you want to fall asleep. Working out before bedtime can make your body temperature rise and make you more alert. The ideal time to exercise is early afternoon, because about 5 to 6 hours later your temperature will drop and this will help you sleep better.
  • Consume large amounts of caffeine. Scientists recommend no more than 250 mg a day. To find out how much caffeine you get in a day use the National Sleep Foundation’s Caffeine Calculator on
  • Use nicotine products, including cigarettes. Like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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