(RxWiki News) Are you one of the millions of Americans who doesn't get enough sleep each night? If so, this weekend is a great opportunity to fix that.
When the Daylight Saving change occurs in the wee hours of Sunday morning, you have the opportunity for an extra hour of sleep.
Take the opportunity to make the change permanent. Your body will thank you.
"Add an hour to your sleep permanently."
The time shift this year occurs at 2 am on Sunday, November 4.
Although we lose an hour in the spring when the clocks "springs" forward, we gain an hour in the fall when Daylight Saving Time ends and the clock "falls back."
To make that hour a permanent addition to your nightly sleep, go to bed one hour earlier by the clock on Monday evening. Your body will think it's the same time you normally go to sleep.
For example, if your typical bedtime is 11 pm, and you rise at 5 am, you get 6 hours of sleep, less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours.
On Monday evening, your body will "feel" like it's 11 pm an hour earlier, at 10 pm. If you go ahead and go to bed at 10 pm instead of 11 p.m., you should fall asleep just as easily as you normally do at 11 pm.
However, when you get up at 5 am, you'll now be getting 7 hours of sleep.
According to Sam Fleishman, the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the end of Daylight Saving Time is "a once a year opportunity to reset your body clock for an extra hour of sleep every night.”
Of course, even if you don't decide to use this chance to extend your sleep by an hour, you should be conscious of how the change in time can affect you and your body, according to William Kohler, MD, the director of the Florida Sleep Center in Spring Hill, Florida.
"It's easier for us to accommodate the transition in the fall rather than the spring forward, but some people still have difficulty," Dr. Kohler said. He noted there's the potential for an increase in accidents if people are not aware of how the turning back of the clock might affect their functioning.
"Even though it's easier, and it's good to try to get the extra hour if we can, we still need to be aware that we can be tired still with this adjustment," Dr. Kohler said.
The AASM has actually launched a new website that educates consumers about other ways to address sleep concerns and possible sleeping disorders, which the organization says affect about 70 million people.
Getting too little sleep is linked to a long list of health conditions, from poor cardiovascular risk and diabetes to obesity and mental health problems.
Individuals who get insufficient sleep also tend to have a harder time concentrating, thinking clearly and making decisions.
In fact, not getting enough sleep can be deadly if you're driving. According to a 2005 Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 37 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep at least once in the past year while driving.
Four percent, which equates to about 11 million people nationwide, reported that they have been in an accident or almost had an accident because they nodded off at the wheel.
The end of Daylight Saving Time only comes around once a year. This is your opportunity to give yourself an important health boost that can last all year long.