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Don't Let Time Change Disrupt Your Sleep Patterns

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Worried that your sleep patterns will be disrupted when the clocks move ahead one hour this weekend? The key is getting enough zzz's in advance, says one sleep expert.

First, make sure you're well rested before the switch to daylight savings time on March 13, advises Dr. Aparajitha Verma, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston.

One way to do that is to start changing your sleep habits in the days before the time change; for example, start getting up and going to sleep an hour earlier, Verma said.

You can also take a nap on Sunday afternoon if you feel you need to and you have the time. But avoid napping within a few hours of your regular bedtime because that could disrupt your nighttime sleep, she added.

As you try to adapt to the time change, remember that certain persistent problems may indicate a more serious sleeping disorder. These include: remaining awake after 30 minutes of trying to go to sleep; excessive daytime sleepiness; or sleeping for seven or more hours and waking up tired.

If you experience such problems, you may want to consider participating in an overnight study at an accredited sleep study center, Verma said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Methodist Neurological Institute, news release, March 7, 2011

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