Holiday Sleep: Is the busy time of year affecting your sleep?

Published: Dec. 11, 2018 at 10:43 AM AKST
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Living in Alaska, we know the daylight and darkness can have an effect, but to what extent and how can you tell if you're not getting enough shut-eye?

Dr. Harry Yuan, Pediatric Medical Director with the Alaska Sleep Clinic said for those of us who live in Alaska, the sun and lack thereof play a big part. When there are different amounts of light that skews more towards darkness, it tends to make people sleepier and they have more difficulty staying awake. When it comes to kids and the holidays, they're out of school and want to stay up later, which causes their sleep to be off.

"One of the most important things I stress to parents is the importance of keeping bedtimes and wake times consistent. So I don't necessarily tell the parents and the children what time bedtime should be, I let them determine that, but I do recommend that they don't vary by more than an hour," he said.

Dr. Yuan said symptoms of sleep deprivation have a lot to do with cognitive function.

"There are studies that show sleep deprivation, or not getting enough sleep, is very much like drinking and driving behind the wheel because of the reflex," Yuan said.

Some things to keep in mind are to gauge how you feel when you wake up. Are you waking up tired? Can you fall asleep within 20 minutes? If any area of sleep seems out of the norm, Dr. Yuan said that's enough to go see a doctor.

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