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Surviving Daylight Saving Switch

Night owls especially need to readjust to cope with loss of hour's sleep on March 9

SUNDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Planning ahead and following a few simple steps can help you minimize the impact of lost sleep when the clocks go ahead one hour on March 9, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The academy offers the following tips to cope with the return to Daylight Saving Time (DST):

  • Begin to readjust your sleep schedule a few days prior to the time change by going to bed an hour earlier.
  • Modify your eating schedule by having dinner one hour earlier.
  • Be careful when driving or operating machinery on the day of the time change.
  • Avoid napping, particularly before bedtime.
  • Keep a light schedule -- such as minimizing driving and avoiding strenuous physical activity -- on the Monday after the time change.
  • Eat properly, stay hydrated and remain physically active.

"The conversion to DST, with its forced loss of one hour of sleep and a change in sleep schedule, can sometimes result in complaints of disrupted daytime functioning," Dr. Ron Kramer, medical director of the Colorado Sleep Disorders Center, said in a prepared statement. "This problem, surprisingly, can last as long as one to two weeks in some people, especially in the 'night-owl' type of person."

But he added that the change can be a good opportunity to examine your sleep patterns and behaviors.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about sleep.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, February 2008

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