As You Prepare to Spring Forward, Mercy Health Provides Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

(CINCINNATI; February 25, 2016) – The switch to Daylight Savings time on Sunday, March 13 caps the end of this year’s Sleep Awareness Week observance, which runs from March 6-13. This is an ideal time to note the importance of good night’s sleep and take on board suggestions for getting one. 

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention found that about one-third of adults in the United States appear to be getting insufficient sleep. Residents of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana were among those who reported having the poorest sleep.

Good quality sleep (7-9 hours a night) plays a key role in staying healthy while chronic poor sleep (less than 6 hours) can lead to variety of health problems, including:
• heart issues, such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and irregular heartbeat
• high blood pressure
• dangerous daytime fatigue and sleepiness – a leading cause of car accidents, which, research shows, increase in the week following our spring forward
• poor memory and impaired ability to learn
• weight gain
• stroke
• diabetes
• depression and mental distress

Mercy Health’s sleep experts recommend the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

1. Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on the weekends. A fixed timetable helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. Long naps can dramatically affect the quality of your nighttime sleep. If you have to take a nap, try limiting it to 15-20 minutes in the late morning or early afternoon.

2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime ritual prior to bedtime. Make the bedroom an inviting place to sleep: reduce ambient light, find a comfortable temperature (not too hot or cold), keep noises to a minimum, etc.

3. Reduce your “screen” time at night and reduce your exposure within an hour of bed.  Artificial light from TVs, laptops, computers, tables and smartphones make the brain think it is daytime and can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

4. Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise can help you sleep better. Set a goal for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. However, you want to make sure you finish at least four hours before bedtime. Exercise raises body temperature, which interferes with falling asleep.

5. Watch what you drink and eat before bedtime. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. and if you are hungry, eat small snacks, not large meals within two hours of bedtime. While alcohol might help you feel sleepy in the short term, it ultimately ruins your sleep during the second half of the night by lessening the overall quality of sleep through reduced deep stages of sleep, leaving you feeling less refreshed when the alarm goes off.

6. Prepare for Daylight Savings Time by going to bed earlier three to five nights before the time change to better acclimate to Daylight Savings time on Monday morning.

7. Know that your body will adjust but that it might take few days to feel 100% back to normal.

Mercy Health’s board-certified Sleep Medicine physicians and credentialed sleep technologists have many years of experience in the field of sleep medicine and can diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg, narcolepsy, sleepwalking and more.

For more information on Mercy Health’s sleep centers and sleep medicine specialists, please visit e-mercy.com or call:
• Dr. Samir Ataya, Mercy Health - East Pulmonary, Sleep and Critical Care,  513-735-1701
• Dr. Sanjiv Patel, Mercy Health – Pulmonary, Sleep & Critical Care, Mason and Fairfield, 513-774-2870