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If you're not getting enough shut-eye in WNY, you're not alone

Four in 10 upstate New York adults are not getting enough sleep – and the time change this weekend from daylight saving to standard time may compound that challenge.

“Turning our clocks forward each March and turning them back each November disrupts our body’s natural 24-hour cycle, or circadian rhythm,” said Dr. Richard Vienne, vice president and chief medical officer with Univera Healthcare. “The impact on an already sleep-deprived society is like nationally imposed jet lag, although it’s easier to adjust in the fall, when we gain an hour, than it is in the spring, when we lose one.”

The health insurer commissioned One Research to conduct an online survey of upstate adults ages 18 and older. Among the findings:

  •  Men are significantly more likely than women to report getting 7 hours – the minimum recommendation for a healthy night’s sleep – or more each night.
  •  The average hours vary with age. Compared with other age groups, adults ages 35 to 44 are the least likely to get enough sleep each night. Significantly more adults age 65 and older report getting the most sleep.
  •  One in five adults report that they snore. More men report snoring than women.
  •  More than half of adults – especially women – report often feeling tired during the day.
  •  Eight out of 10 adults have tried at least one method to improve sleep.

Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression are associated with not getting enough sleep, though it’s not clear whether sleep disruption leads to these clinical problems or the problems disturb sleep.

Poor sleep is linked with impaired decision-making and decreased alertness, which can result in injuries to the sleep-deprived or those around them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers in 2017. Those crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people being injured and nearly 800 dying.

Vienne, in a news release, offered the following tips for improved sleep: Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool; avoid large meals, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed; stick to a consistent sleep schedule, including on weekends; exercise regularly; establish a relaxing bedtime routine; and turn off electronic devices at least a half-hour before bed.

Learn more in a Univera infographic here.

Daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, so turn your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night.

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