Saturday night before going to sleep many of us will set our clocks ahead one hour. It’s an annual ritual that some people look forward to because of the extra hour of daylight. For others it causes increased anxiety because of the sleep disruption. A study published in 2008 in the New England Medical Journal reported that the number of deadly heart attacks jumped from six to 10 percent in the first few work days following daylight savings time.
March is National Sleep Month. The purpose of designating a month to recognize something we all take for granted is to alert the public, policy makers and health care providers to the importance of sleep. Most adults will spend fully one third of their lives sleeping. Common myths about sleep include the idea that you can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get. The truth is sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. It can also cause decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job and on the road. In many cases it leads to negative mood and behavior and depression.
Another common myth involves snoring. “Many people assume snoring is something that’s just annoying to a spouse or funny,” says Dr. Rory Ramsey, Medical Director of the Saint Alphonsus Sleep Disorders Center in Nampa and board certified in critical care, internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and sleep medicine. “The fact of the matter is snoring can signal a serious health condition called sleep apnea which can cause fatigue, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.” To find out if you or someone you love could have a sleep disorder – take the Saint Alphonsus Sleep Assessment quiz. Just go to www.saintalphonsus.org and click on Sleep Disorders Center. The Saint Alphonsus Sleep Disorders Center offers a full-service sleep program specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of adult and pediatric sleep disorders.
To help you and your family acclimate to Sunday’s time change – Dr. Ramsey suggests:
Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier than you normally would for a few days before the change.
Don’t nap on the Saturday before the time change
Expose yourself to sunlight as early as possible in the mornings to help set your internal clock
Start work a half-hour later for a couple of days after the move to Daylight Savings Time
Try to avoid scheduling dangerous or demanding tasks for several days afterward to prevent any accidents.
For additional information about National Sleep Month go to the National Sleep Foundation website at www.sleepfoundation.org
About Saint Alphonsus Health System Saint Alphonsus Health System is a four-hospital, 714-bed regional, faith-based Catholic ministry with over 4,300 Associates and 950 medical staff. Serving the people of southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada, Saint Alphonsus Health System is comprised of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, Idaho; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Nampa, ID; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Ontario, OR; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Baker City, OR; Saint Alphonsus Medical Group, with over 200 primary care and specialty care providers at 35 clinic locations. As a not-for-profit health system, Saint Alphonsus Health System reinvests profits back into the community and works to improve the health and well-being of those we serve by emphasizing care that is patient-centered, innovative and community-based. Saint Alphonsus Health System is a member of Trinity Health, Novi, Michigan. To find out more go to: www.saintalphonsushealthsystem.org.