Daylight saving caution: Sleep now

Feb. 20, 2009 at 10:10 PM

HOUSTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. sleep specialist advises that people should become well rested before the return to daylight saving time.

Dr. Aparajitha Verma of the Sleep Disorders Center at The Methodist Hospital in Houston says one way to do that is to start changing sleep habits days before the time change March 8.

"You can get up an hour earlier and go to sleep an hour earlier," Verma says in a statement. "You can also take a nap in the afternoon on Sunday if you need it, but not within a few hours of your regular bedtime. Napping too close to bedtime can disrupt nighttime sleep."

More than 70 million people have some kind of sleep problem, Verma says, and daylight saving time-disrupted sleep patterns can lead to more serious sleep problems that can cause serious health and lifestyle issues.

"As you're trying to get used to the time change, keep in mind that if you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes of lying down, if you have excessive daytime sleepiness, or if you're still sleeping for seven or more hours and waking up tired, you may have a more serious sleeping disorder, and should consider a visit to a center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine," Verma says.

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