Daylight Saving's sleep benefit doesn't last long

Posted at: 11/04/2013 11:07 AM
By: Erika Edwards, NBC News

Photo: NBC News

(NBC News) -- We are a nation of tired people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even refers to insufficient sleep as a "public health epidemic".

This Sunday morning though, a gift! An extra hour of sleep, thanks to the end of daylight saving time.

"After that, it's back to normal!" said Dr. Meena Khan of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

Khan says the benefit of that extra hour only lasts a day or two.

"Typically one or two days of catch-up is not enough to really replenish the sleep loss during the week," said Khan.

Dr. Khan says light is the biggest deterrent to sleep.

She recommends making the bedroom as dark as possible.

The path to the land of slumber is not lit by television screens and other electronic devices.

"Sometimes people like to use these things if they're having trouble sleeping, but actually they can promote more alertness, especially if you're engaged in whatever activity you're doing," Khan said.

Dr. Khan also recommends being as physically active as possible during the day.

She says exercise in late afternoon or early evening may be most effective for sleep.

She also recommends you cut the caffeine at least 4 hours before bedtime and stick to the same bed- and wake-up time every day, even if you get a little extra time this weekend.

Most sleep experts say adults should shoot for about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.