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Alvarado Hospital Expert Offers Tips for Adjusting to the Time Change

With daylight saving time just around the corner, moving our clocks forward one hour also means losing one hour of sleep.

To some this may mean complaints of fatigue, memory lapses, impaired reaction time and clumsiness, but according to researchers that report in the New England Journal of Medicine there is a connection between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular health risks. An increase in the amount of heart attacks could occur during the first week of this time change.

The following tips given by Dr. Larry Emdur, pulmonologist, with Alvarado Hospital Sleep Center offers the following tips to help your body adjust to the time change in a faster and easier transition and alleviate your chances of serious cardiovascular health risks.

1. Avoid overexertion and muscle fatigue immediately before bedtime.

2. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine within two to four hours of going to sleep.

3. Relax an hour or so before getting in bed. Read, listen to music or take a warm (not hot) bath.

4. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and at a moderate temperature (60-65 degrees for most people).

5. Get into bed and progressively relax each muscle area, starting with the toes and traveling slowly up to your head.

For those who have difficulty falling asleep:

1. Try to establish a regular sleeping schedule, but don't go to bed until you are sleepy. If you don't fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and return only when you are sleepy.

2. No matter when you go to sleep, get up at the same time and avoid naps during the day.

3. If you have trouble sleeping, cut your time in bed by an hour or more until 90% of it is spent sleeping. Then gradually increase your time in bed by 15-minute increments.

If you suffer from chronic or severe insomnia, visit your primary care physician to discuss a referral for a sleep study. For more information about sleep disorders or to schedule an appointment for a sleep study, call 619-229-7000 or click here.