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Daylight Savings: How to make that extra hour of sleep count

Use daylight savings as an opportunity to make healthy changes to your sleep habtis. (Thinkstock)Though it's easy to dismiss your time spent snoozing, not all sleep is created equal, and daylight savings can cause more of a disruption to your delicate equilibrium than you might think.

With the changeover right around the corner, now is a good time to assess your sleeping habits and and see if there's anything you're doing that could use some fine tuning.

A recent article in the Toronto Star highlights the impact a single extra hour of sleep can have on a person.

"When your inner clock doesn't match the environment, your body is going to have to match up. So whenever we change the environment, daylight-savings time, for example, your body will still be aligning itself with the inner clock, not the clock in the environment we're in," Ryerson University sleep specialist Colleen Carney explains to the Star.

This disruption can cause mood swings and disrupt eating habits if you're not careful.  

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Fortunately, the Canadian Sleep Society has a handy list of of tips on maintaining good sleep hygiene.

Wait until you're tired: Don't try to fall asleep when you're wide awake.

The bed is for sleeping: Okay, sometimes a little hanky panky is also allowed, but that's it. Don't eat, drink, read, watch television, or work in bed.

Take note of your position: According to a recent article on CNN, there are different benefits and shortcomings of each horizontal position.

  • Back position: This is the best for preventing neck pain, back pain, acid reflux, droopy breasts and wrinkles, but is the worst for snoring and those with sleep apnea.
  • Side position: This one is good for preventing back and neck pain and is the best for pregnant ladies and snorers, but isn't good for wrinkles or breasts.
  • Fetal position: Not just for babies! This one is good for minimizing snoring and maximizing comfort during pregnancy, but can cause neck and back pain.
  • Stomach position: Far from ideal, this position can cause neck and back problems and is generally not recommended, except for severe snorers who find it comfortable.

Also see: Why breakfast sandwiches are more of an artery clogging nightmare than you think

Prepare the room: Make sure it's a comfortable temperature, and that it is quiet and dark.

Exercise: It's well known that exercise will help you sleep better, but remember that for best results, it's ideal to get your workout early in the day.

Watch your intake: Avoid foods, beverages, and medications that may contain stimulants, and it's best to abstain from alcohol and nicotine before going to sleep.

Establish a schedule: Go to sleep and wake up at the same to every day — including weekends!

Now go catch some quality Zs and make that extra hour count.  

Watch the video below about a recent study examining how our sleep position give clues to personality traits. 

 

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