Millions of Americans have trouble getting the sleep that they need – it’s estimated that over 50 million adults in the U.S. have some type of sleep or wakefulness disorder – and that’s without throwing daylight saving time into the mix. Daylight saving time started back up again yesterday, which means that we set our clocks forward an hour. And as you undoubtedly know, losing an hour of sleep can make it even more difficult to get the rest that you need.
A lack of sleep has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be less satisfied with their lives, and sleep deprivation has been linked to traffic accidents, industrial accidents, and other types of occupational errors. It’s not that inadequate sleep immediately results in these health issues, but a lack of sleep can lead to behaviors that promote health problems.
The truth is that getting enough sleep isn’t just something that’s nice to have like a big screen TV or seat warmers in your car. Sleep is essential for good health, and that’s why it’s so important to get good, quality sleep every single night.
Although there are several theories for why we sleep, the answer to that question isn’t exactly clear. However, we do know without a doubt that sleep is vital to our health. Here are some ways to keep from losing sleep during daylight saving time.
- Stick with your regular routine. The days will continue to grow longer, but that doesn’t mean you should stay up later. If you and your family have a regular routine, try and stick with it. It can be a challenge for the first week during daylight saving time, but you will adjust soon enough.
- Limit the amount of caffeine that you consume, especially later in the day. There is no nutritional need for caffeine, and caffeine can make it difficult for some people to get the sleep that they need.
- Practice good sleep hygiene (habits that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis). Wind down an hour or so before bed. This means no running around, exercise, etc. Establish good routines like taking a bath, brushing teeth, or reading that signal bedtime.
- Avoid excessive napping. A quick cat nap every once in a while is fine, but don’t make hour long naps during the middle of the day a habit. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule can help you make sure that you get the sleep you need.
Make a point to get the daily recommended amount of sleep. Your age is just one of the factors that determine how much sleep you need each night. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends:
- 16-18 hours each day for newborns
- 11-12 hours each day for preschool children
- 10+ hours each day for school-aged children
- 9-10 hours each day for teens
- 7-8 hours each day for adults
Of course, you may need more sleep depending on other factors. Adequate sleep is necessary for a happy and healthy life. If you suspect that you or someone in your family may have a sleeping disorder, schedule an appointment with a sleep medicine physician.