Daily Archives: November 6, 2010

Time change tonight offers chance to try to improve on slumber, experts say.

When you turn your clocks back an hour tonight, it might be a good opportunity to think about whether you’re getting enough sleep. The switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time officially occurs at 2 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday) morning, and it moves one hour of daylight from the evening to the morning. You’ll likely appreciate the extra hour of sleep you’ll gain with the return to Standard Time, but it won’t be enough to eliminate any major sleep debt you may have accumulated due to a hectic lifestyle, experts say. Here are the details from HealthDay News:

Chronic sleep deprivation can affect attention levels, reaction time and mood, leading to decreased productivity at work, increased family stress, and potential health problems, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

“People tend to ignore the need for sleep in order to get other things done, but sleep is as important as what you eat, how much you exercise, and other healthy lifestyle practices,” Dr. Nancy A. Collop, director of the Emory Sleep Center and president-elect of the AASM, said in an academy news release. “It’s important to acknowledge the role that sleep plays in our daily lives, and recognize that how we feel, think and perform is all dictated by the amount of sleep we get.”

The amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum daytime performance varies by age: preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours a night; school-age children should get 10 to 11 hours; teens must have at least nine hours; and adults should get seven to eight hours each night.

The AASM offers these tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Don’t exercise or have caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or heavy meals close to bedtime.
  • It’s fine to eat a small snack before bedtime to avoid going to sleep hungry.
  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
  • Don’t sleep in on the weekends. That just makes it harder to wake up on Monday.

For More information, the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep here.

Replace Smoke and CO Alarm Batteries This Weekend for Daylight Saving Time

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to replace their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm batteries this weekend as clocks are turned ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

“Safeguard your family by putting new batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend,” said CPSC’s Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Properly working smoke and CO alarms can alert you to a fire or poisonous carbon monoxide in your home and give you valuable escape time.”

An estimated annual average of 378,700 fires, 2,740 deaths, 13,090 injuries and $5.6 billion in property losses associated with residential fires were reported by fire departments from 2003 through 2005.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. There was an annual average of 171 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products from 2003 through 2005.

CPSC recommends consumers replace the batteries in their smoke and CO alarms annually and test the alarms monthly.

Smoke alarms should be on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas.

CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available to consumers.

CPSC recommends consumers follow these safety tips:

  • Never leave cooking equipment unattended.
  • Have a professional inspect home heating, cooling, and water appliances annually.
  • Use caution with candles, lighters, matches, and smoking materials near upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedding.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of young children.
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice it so family members know what to do and where to meet if there’s a fire in the home. Children and the elderly may sleep through or not react to the sound of the smoke alarm, so parents and caregivers should adjust their fire escape plan to help them escape the house in the event of a fire.
  • Never ignore an alarming CO alarm. It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds do not try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air. Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.
  • Never use a portable generator indoors – including garages, basements, crawlspaces, and sheds. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home.
  • During use, keep portable generators outdoors and far away from open doors, windows and vents, which can allow CO to build up indoors.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. The CO from generators can readily lead to full incapacitation and death. Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.