Doctor Warns Against Losing Sleep Over Daylight Saving Time

April 02, 2002
News Office: Eve Harris (415) 885-7277

When Daylight Saving Time returns Sunday morning, April 7, many of the Bay Area's stressed-out commuters will lose something they can't afford to lose - one hour of precious weekend sleep. When clocks "spring forward," many already sleep-deprived adults will suffer the consequences of an additional hour of lost shut-eye.

Dr. David Claman, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, said many adults try to catch up on their sleep over weekends. "Life is hectic and, unfortunately, too many people cut corners on the amount of sleep they get without realizing the potential consequences," said Claman, who also is a UCSF assistant clinical professor of pulmonary medicine. Adults "should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep each night," he said.

Studies have shown the short-term consequences of inadequate sleep include sleepiness, fatigue, inability to concentrate and poor memory. Long-term consequences can include depression, irritability and drowsiness while at work or while driving.

The 2002 Sleep in America poll, released today, found that 24 percent of American adults aren't getting the minimum amount of sleep they say they need to be alert the next day. The poll, conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), found that people with inadequate sleep are more likely to describe themselves as stressed, sad and angry.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents admitted that when they failed to get enough sleep they were more likely to become aggravated while sitting in traffic - "definitely something the Bay Area doesn't need," said Claman. He offered the following tips for healthful sleep:

Establish and maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time every day.

Find the amount of sleep you need to feel consistently refreshed.

Create a comfortable, quiet, clean, and dark environment for sleeping. Your bed and the temperature of your bedroom should be comfortable.

Establish a regular pattern of relaxing behaviors for 10 to 60 minutes before bedtime to avoid taking the troubles of the day to bed. Don't dwell on intense thought or feeling before bedtime.

Exercise on a regular basis.

Don't nap during the day or evening.

Don't eat heavy meals or drink large amounts of liquid before bedtime.

Don't lie awake in bed for long periods of time. If not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

Don't allow your sleep to be disturbed by your phone, pets, family, etc.

Don't use alcohol, caffeine or nicotine, all of which may impair your ability to sleep.

Claman supervises a busy team at the UCSF Mount Zion Sleep Disorders Center, performing research on sleep apnea and overseeing 20 to 22 patient sleep studies per week. The Center provides comprehensive evaluation and individualized treatment for all sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, periodic leg movements, narcolepsy and snoring.

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