Change Your Clocks, Change Your Habits

November 04, 2011

When you nestle up in bed in your Chicago real estate, do you get enough hours of sleep? You could get an extra one this weekend, but should you?

The end of Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m. Chicago residents will turn their clocks back one hour, and many will use this bonus time to get an extra hour of shut-eye.

guy in bed looking at a clockBut sleep experts from Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital say that the one-hour shift could be disruptive to our sleep patterns. Instead, they recommend using the end of Daylight Savings Time to evaluate our sleeping habits.

“Sleep problems are widespread and on the rise, yet many people dismiss the issue and don’t realize the consequences that can result,” said Hrayr Attarian, MD, neurologist at Northwestern Memorial and associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“As people reset their clocks, they should also take this opportunity to reset their sleep habits in order to avoid possible health consequences. Sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, trouble with memory and learning and a higher incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Attarian says going to bed at the same time, even though we are gaining an hour, will help us feel less sleep deprived on Monday.

Here are some other tips for proper sleep habits:

*Be consistent: Go to bed when you are tired and get up at the same time each day. You can’t force yourself to fall asleep, but you can get up when you need to. Not sleeping in may help consolidate your sleep at night.

*Bedroom boundaries: Make the bedroom primarily for sleeping. It shouldn’t be a place to watch TV, do work, surf the internet or eat. That way your body knows that when you get into bed, it’s time to go to sleep.

*Exercise early: Working out can give your body something to rest from and help you stay asleep at night, but be sure to wind down from your workout at least two or three hours before going to bed.

*Warm up and get cold: Take a hot shower then get into a cool bed. The drop in your body’s temperature after taking a hot shower and entering a cooler room is a process that naturally mimics day and night, and that may help you fall asleep.

*Quiet your head: Make a to-do list for the next day and then put it aside. Hopefully this will make you feel organized and keep out the racing thoughts that can inhibit sleep.

*Turn off screens: Avoid activities like going online or watching TV that will hold your interest. Listen to music or read something you find mindless in a dimly lit area instead.

If sleep is an issue in your life, Northwestern Memorial has a new 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Sleep Disorders Clinic. Visit it at or call 312-926-0779 for more information.

Sweet dreams!

Categories: Education

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