Standard Time Returns...Will You Sleep an Extra Hour?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

NSF Offers Tips to Successfully “Fall Back”

WASHINGTON, DC, October 31, 2008 -- This weekend, millions of Americans will roll their clocks back one hour for the return to Standard Time. But as clocks move back and we wake on Sunday morning (November 2), after “gaining” an extra hour of the day, will Americans use that extra hour to catch up on their sleep? Unfortunately, probably not, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

NSF’s 2008 Sleep in America poll found that nearly one-third of Americans (28%) said they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities at least a few days a month. One in six (13%) people polled reported that this sleepiness impacts them a few days a week or more. Additionally, 63 percent stated they are very likely to just accept their sleepiness and keep going, instead of making their sleep a priority.

“Many people have difficulties adjusting to the time change,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “But in the fall, early light exposure may cause people to wake earlier than planned. As a result, many Americans may experience increased daytime sleepiness as they adjust to the new schedule. This is an important time to remember to plan ahead to make healthy sleep a priority and reduce incidents of daytime drowsiness,” he said.

NSF recommends these tips to help ease the adjustment to standard time:

  • Maintain your regular bedtime Saturday night, when clocks move back, and awaken at your regular time on Sunday morning. This can give you an “extra” hour of sleep the next morning and help reduce your sleep debt;
  • Block out light and keep your sleeping area dark. Standard time causes the sun to rise about an hour earlier. This can impact sleep, especially for people accustomed to awakening before or around sunrise. The light itself can disturb sleep, so it is always best to sleep in a darkened room;
  • Increase the light when you wake up. Light has an alerting affect that may help you wake up. It will also help adjust your biological