News Release

March 29, 2005

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Already Sleep Deprived Adults Lose Another Hour

UConn Sleep Expert Offers Tips for Change Over to Daylight Saving Time

FARMINGTON, Conn. – Three-quarters of adults say they often have problems sleeping, according to a current poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, and one-fourth say sleep problems have some impact on their daily lives. With daylight saving time coming up this weekend, it will add to the problems of an already sleep deprived nation.

"Moving the clock ahead one hour is more stressful and harder on the sleep cycle than the time change that takes place in the fall," said Dr. McNally, director of the Sleep Disorder Center at UConn Health Center. “That hour will be tough for many,” he said. “The only consolation is that the majority of us enjoy the extended daylight hours.”

Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for adults to feel rested and alert. The latest NSF poll shows that the national average is 6.9 hours.

“Take away another hour . . . the math is easy,” said McNally. “Adjusting to daylight saving time will take about a day or two.”

Dr. McNally suggests adults get to bed a little earlier over the weekend or take a short nap Sunday, but not too close to bedtime. For children, he says parents should try to keep up with kids’ regular sleep habits according to the new time. “Children might be cranky for a day or two, but if you try to compensate for the extra hour, you’ll have problems with their wake-up time or bedtime that can last for days,” he said. “Keeping wake-up time consistent is the most important. Changing to daylight saving time Friday night, or on Thursday making bedtime 15 minutes earlier and continuing with the 15-minute intervals throughout the weekend, can also help.”

Whenever sleep cycles are interrupted, whether it’s caused by daylight saving time, a bout of insomnia, a late night out or an early morning rising, or the big culprit, jet lag, you’re going to have a problem with fatigue which will affect your daily activities, said Dr. McNally. “Consistency in sleep times is one of the best tools for a restful night’s sleep,” he said. “Daylight saving time stresses that a little.”

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