News Release

February 20, 2008

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

Earlier “Spring Forward” May Cost You Sleep

Health Center Expert Urges You to Make Sleep a Priority Year Round

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The return to Daylight Saving Time (DST) occurs at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 9. As a result, many of us will lose an hour of sleep when much of the United States “springs forward” one hour.

“Millions of Americans already do not get the sleep they need,” says Dr. Jennifer Papa Kanaan, sleep expert at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “And, unless we choose to make sleep a priority, Daylight Saving Time will take away yet another hour of healthy sleep.” Kanaan recommends that everyone make an effort to set a bedtime that allows the seven to eight hours of sleep that adults need to be healthy.

“Sleep is as important as diet and exercise in helping people to function and to maintain good health,” says Kanaan. “Americans need to be reminded of this – not only when we change the clocks on March 9 but every day of the year.”

Here are some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep during the weekend of DST and year-round:

  • In the four days before the return to Daylight Saving Time (Sunday, March 9), try to go to sleep and awaken 15 minutes earlier each day to adjust to the time change.
  • Be cautious not to drive if drowsy on the day or two after the time change, as lost sleep contributes to drowsy driving.
  • A short nap on March 9 can help make up for less sleep, but don’t nap within a few hours of your regular bedtime in order to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.
  • On nights after the time change, go to bed at your usual clock time (e.g., 11 p.m.). You may experience some difficulty falling asleep, because your brain has not yet adjusted. Therefore it is even more important to follow the following healthy sleep habits:
    • 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.
    • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for several hours prior to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.
    • Get up at your usual clock time. Although you may find this a bit difficult, it will help you adjust to the time change.

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