Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Feeling deprived?

Extra hour will help, but not nearly enough

November 1, 2008


Feeling deprived?

Get ready for an extra treat this weekend that comes in the form of time. Health officials say that the best use of the extra hour we gain this weekend is to catch up on sleep. Enlarge video

On the street

Are you going to take advantage of your “extra hour” that comes with the return of standard time?

Yes. I’m going to take advantage of it by getting an extra hour of sleep.

More responses

how to easily adjust to standard time

The National Sleep Foundation recommends these tips to help ease the adjustment to standard time:

¢ Maintain your regular bedtime tonight, when clocks move back, and awaken at your regular time on Sunday morning. This can give you an "extra" hour of sleep the next morning and help reduce your sleep debt.¢ Block out light and keep your sleeping area dark. Standard time causes the sun to rise about an hour earlier. This can affect sleep, especially for people accustomed to awakening before or around sunrise. The light itself can disturb sleep, so it is always best to sleep in a darkened room.¢ Increase the light when you wake up. Light has an alerting effect that helps you wake up. It also will help adjust your biological clock to the "new" sleep schedule.¢ Difficulty adjusting to the time change? Staying awake at night or sleeping until your desired wake-up time may be helped by gradually moving bedtime and awakening later by 15 minutes every one to two days.

For more information about healthy sleep habits, go to

Feeling a little tired this morning after a fun-filled night of tricks, treats, scary movies, parties and cocktails?

I bet.

And for Kansas University football fans, there's that in-state rivalry football game that has an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.

Between parties and tailgating, I bet there are quite a few people who are tickled to be setting their clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday when daylight saving time ends.

It's a treat that Lawrence resident Adrienne Baars is happy to indulge in. Time is something the mother of two, ages 1 and 5, seems to never have enough of, because she juggles motherhood with a full-time job as secretary of Deerfield School and 12 hours of classes at Washburn University, where she is studying to be a counselor.

"I am excited for that extra hour," she said.

At first, Baars said she would use the time for studying and homework but then, on second thought, she said it would be used for sleep. She generally gets between five and seven hours a night.

"But I probably won't, honestly, because I have an internship, too, so I am just really, really busy," she said.

The National Sleep Foundation predicts that many Americans will opt to use that extra hour for something besides sleep although the average person gets only about six hours and 40 minutes of sleep per day. The Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours.

Tired, high-tech society

According to a 2008 poll by the Sleep Foundation, one-third of Americans said they were so sleepy during the day that it interfered with their daily activities at least a few days a month. One in six people polled reported that sleepiness affected them a few days a week or more.

Additionally, 63 percent said they were very likely to just accept their sleepiness and keep going instead of making sleep a priority.

That's how Garrett Scarlett, a KU freshman from Topeka, feels. He estimated that he gets between five and six hours of sleep a night.

"It's a ridiculously small amount," he admits.

But Scarlett still won't use the extra hour to do any catching up. Instead, he plans to use it for studying.

"There's a game this weekend and I am a pledge, so there are things that I need to be doing, so I will probably have to do homework during that hour," Scarlett said. "I will sleep when I am dead, I guess."

Dr. Suzanne Stevens, who specializes in sleep medicine at Kansas University Medical Center, said today's high-tech society is part of the problem. People are watching television, surfing the Internet, and checking their BlackBerries and e-mails at all hours of the day.

"People become afraid that they are going to miss something if they fall asleep," she said. "So they have the compulsion to check their e-mail one more time before they go to bed, and if there happens to be an e-mail in there, they have got to take the time to answer it.

"I think it is difficult for people to turn off that technology and just let it be at the end of the day when they should have down time."

The sleep foundation poll also found that 58 percent of Americans are taking work home, which doesn't help.

Cost of lost sleep

While it may seem close to impossible to get the recommended eight hours of ZZZ's, not doing so could be costly. Stevens said people who are sleep deprived tend to become more irritable and forgetful.

There's also an increased risk of:

¢ Becoming obese because of an increased appetite.

¢ Developing heart problems and diabetes.

¢ Developing psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse.

¢ Being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

"It's just as dangerous as drinking and driving because sleepiness slows your reaction time and decreases awareness and impairs judgment," said Jim Hanni, executive vice president of AAA Kansas.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that between 800,000 and 1.8 million drivers have been involved in a crash related to sleep deprivation in the past five years. Nearly 40 percent of drivers surveyed by NHTSA admitted they nodded off while driving and 8 percent said they had done it within the past six months.

"You don't have a few seconds when you are behind the wheel," Hanni said. "Those kinds of things can really be fatal. Don't take chances with it. Sleepiness can creep up on you without warning."

Adapting to change

Stevens said teenagers typically need between eight and nine hours. But as we get older, she said we tend to get less sleep because of poorer quality sleep.

"We actually end up sleeping less as we age, which is normal," she said.

And while the fall time change is mostly welcome, it will require some adjustments.

"People will fall asleep at an earlier clock time than typical and wake up earlier in the morning before the alarm clock," Stevens said. That will be easier to do because the sun will be out earlier.

"The sunlight is one of the strongest cues you can give your brain that it's time to wake up," Stevens said.

As a result, people may experience increased daytime drowsiness as they adjust to the new schedule, which could take up to two weeks.

That's how long 74-year-old Frank Day, of Lawrence, said it takes him to adjust to the time change.

"I hate when they change the time on me," he said. "Time should be the time and don't mess with it, just leave it like it is."

Day doesn't like his daily routine to be messed with and that includes at least seven hours of sleep. He typically goes to bed about midnight after watching two episodes of "Frasier" and one episode of "The Golden Girls." Then he shuts the bedroom drapes and blocks the sun out so he can get some shut-eye. He gets up when he wants to.

So why does he hate the time change so much?

"Every time I get my watch to the right time, then I've got to take it and get it fixed again. I take it to the downtown jewelry store because I am too old and I don't know how to change it."


tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 6 months ago

Really. What is this preoccupation with managing time?The twice-twelve-hour day seems OK,so find "noon" and then best-synchronize the 12-hour clock.And what's up with months? ... 30... 31... 28... 29 days long.Break the year into 13 ( ooh, unlucky ) 28-day months to complementthe span-of-memory ( lucky ) 7-day week. Call the new month "Lune,"after that celestial companion with a similar period.

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