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Ah, sleep

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By Ralph Damiani

Yes, dear friend, Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday. And we lose one hour of sleep.And that is not made up for with the hour we gain in the fall, but nonetheless it is here.So as Daylight Savings Time begins, millions of Americans will have to adjust to the loss of an hour, the UNM Health Sciences Center Program in Sleep Medicine Sleep Disorders Center says the timing couldn't be better than now to focus on improving sleep habits. No matter what your age, the Center says that you should awaken refreshed, not tired, and be able to stay awake throughout the day.Each individual needs to learn how much sleep he or she needs in order to function at their best.Parents are urged to talk to their children about the impact that the lack of sleep can have during the day. Even mild sleepiness can hurt performance – from taking exams to playing sports or games.One of the best ways to improve sleep is to turn off the TV.   The TV is on 7 hours and 40 minutes per day in an average American home. An average youth spends 900 hours in school per year and spends 1,023 hours watching TV.The Center says that not only does Inertia contribute to obesity but TV watching before bed contributes to insomnia.The Center offers these tips:• Educate yourself and your children about sleep needs in children and adolescents.• Enforce and maintain age-appropriate sleep schedules.• Ask your child about his/her sleep/wake schedules, how it affects sleep patterns and whether their sleep is refreshing.• Assess how much time is spent in extracurricular activities, homework and part-time jobs, and how these affect their sleep patterns and work with children to adjust their schedules to allow for sufficient sleep.• Provide a home environment conducive to sleep. Establish a quiet time in the evening (dim lights, no loud music, no TV, computer, video games, or telephone one hour before bedtime).The Center is active in promoting the health and wellness benefits of a good night's sleep. You can learn more at its website, http://hospitals.unm.edu/sdc.