Spring forward with these sleep hygiene tips

Ready to “spring forward?” Some of us are eagerly awaiting Daylight Saving Time (DST) and its longer days. Others are dreading losing that hour of sleep. While it may just seem like an extra 60 minutes in bed, studies show DST can cause days, or even weeks, of negative health ramifications. According to the Better Sleep Council, DST—and its associated sleep loss—can damage work performance, inhibit decision-making, increase traffic accidents and, in certain cases, lead to strokes or heart attacks.

As Dan Christensen, CIH, CSP, CHMM, CTEH’s director of industrial hygiene, has said, “Adults need at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night.” Without this restorative sleep, individuals will accumulate sleep debts and may become dangerously fatigued. If left untreated, individuals may then experience “microsleeps” (i.e., temporary episode of lost consciousness or attention), a serious driving and working hazard.

To prevent dangerous effects this DST, CTEH is sharing its sleep hygiene tips:

Set a consistent sleep schedule (i.e., go to bed and wake up at the same time each day—even if it’s a weekend or vacation week)

Avoid using caffeine, alcohol or nicotine four hours before going to sleep 

Establish a solid bedtime routine (e.g., use a comfortable mattress and pillow; keep your bedroom dark with a temperature between 65-72 degrees; block external noises)

Take the opportunity to “unplug” by removing smartphones and electronics from your bedroom or turning off at least 30 minutes before bed 

Manage your stress levels through exercise, meditation and a balanced diet

Concerned about your employees’ sleep hygiene? Share your questions for CTEH’s industrial hygiene experts on Facebook.