News Release

March 4, 2005

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

Finding Time for Sleep in a 24/7 World

Free Presentation at UConn Health Center on March 31st

Farmington, Conn. – Sleep: most people don’t itemize it on their to-do lists, program it into their palm pilots, or give it a second thought. So, it’s not surprising that a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation finds most Americans do not get enough sleep.

“We treat sleep like a luxury instead of a necessity,” said Daniel McNally, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center and a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. “The truth is, most adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night and children and teens need even more. That’s the minimum amount to function well, stay healthy and avoid serious health problems and safety issues in the home, on the job and on the road.”

Dr. McNally will present a free talk about successful sleep habits on Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Health Center’s Keller Auditorium. The title of the program is “Finding Time for Sleep in a 24/7 World.” To register, call the Health Center at 800-535-6232. The talk will include information about treatments for sleep disorders, including simple lifestyle modifications. It coincides with National Sleep Awareness Week, which runs from March 28 to April 3, the day we adjust our clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

“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.

Do …

  • 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 always the best solution. 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 sometimes cause, and to avoid it’s interfering with your night time sleep schedule.
  • Talk to your doctor if you continue to have sleep problems.


  • 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, which is about two cups of coffee. To find out how much caffeine you drink in a day use the National Sleep Foundation’s Caffeine Calculator on
  • Smoke – like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant.

For more information about the Sleep Disorders Center at UConn Health Center, call 800-535-6232.

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