It’s the time of year Americans adjust their clocks and “spring forward”!

Daylight Savings begins this weekend, which means we lose an hour of sleep. Unfortunately, this comes as a bad wake-up  call for many Americans, who are already sleep-deprived.  An estimated 35% of Americans report their quality of sleep as “only fair” or “poor,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. And though it is recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours a sleep each night, a third of Americans report sleeping on average less than seven hours.

Good sleep is more important than just being able to adjust to Daylight Savings, however. A good night’s rest contributes to your long-term health and is important for a person’s overall wellbeing, weight management and mood balance. Poor sleep is linked to serious health problems. In fact, adults who sleep less than seven hours a night have a higher chance of the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Mental distress

Fortunately, there are simple ways you can improve your quality of sleep. Follow the steps below so you can spring out of bed Monday morning, despite the time difference:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid sleeping in and/or staying up late on weekends.
  • Exercise regularly. In addition to boosting your metabolism and controlling your weight, physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. It’s no surprise that caffeine, a stimulant, will compromise your sleep. But alcohol, a depressant, also has a negative effect on your sleep cycle, making you more likely to wake up feeling exhausted.
  • Don’t use your smartphone in the bedroom. (Admittedly, this one may be difficult.) Checking your phone right before bed can make you stressed or too energized to fall asleep quickly, and studies suggest staring at the light from electronic gadgets can also affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Pay attention to the thermostat. Your body is more likely to fall asleep at a cooler temperature, and while the ideal sleeping temperature varies from person to person, in general it is somewhere between 75 and 54 degrees.

Are you having trouble falling or staying asleep? Do you wake up not feeling rested? Your sleep troubles could be a sign of an underlying health concern, either physical or psychological. Our providers at Family Health Centers of San Diego can diagnose the issue and provide personalized treatment options. Call (619) 515-2300 to schedule an appointment today.