A new poll from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has found that the switch to Daylight Savings Time could be dangerous for people who are already sleep deprived.
The poll found 43% of Americans reported being so sleepy during the day that it interfered with their daily activities a few times or more a month. Losing the extra hour of sleep could push some of those people over the edge, making it risky for them to drive or perform other tasks that require concentration and alertness.
More than half US drives while drowsy
The NSF poll found 51% of Americans reported driving while drowsy and 17% reported falling asleep while driving. Sleepiness is responsible for about 100,000 auto crashes in the US annually.
Memory, mood, reaction time and alertness are diminished when sleep deprived and recent research has also found that metabolism and endocrine functions are dramatically affected as well.
The NSF offers the following tips to help cope with the time change:
• Get at least eight hours of sleep on the night before the time change—or more if you already feel tired.
• To help your sleep pattern adjust to the time change, go to bed a half hour earlier than your normal weekday bedtime.
• Don't consume caffeinated beverages or food after the morning and avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol too close to bedtime.
• Make sure to go to bed early enough at night to get at least eight hours of sleep.