Don't Forget to Fall Back This Weekend

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October 26, 2009

Millions of Americans will roll their clocks back one hour this weekend for the return to Standard Time. But as clocks move back and we wake on Sunday morning, after "gaining" an extra hour of the day, will Americans use that extra hour to catch up on their sleep? Probably not. According to the National Sleep Foundation's 2009 Sleep in America ™ poll, two out of every ten Americans sleep less than six hours a night. Even with an extra hour, that's less than necessary for a full night's rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following 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 clock to the "new" sleep schedule;
  • Difficulty adjusting to the time change? Staying awake at night or sleeping until your desired wake-up time may be helped by gradually moving bedtime and awakening later by 15 minutes every one to two days.