New sleep study says upstate New Yorkers not getting enough sleep

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Story Updated: Nov 4, 2010

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It is almost time to fall back - this Sunday at 2 a.m. you'll get something most Americans can't get enough of - extra sleep.

But how much sleep do you really need in order to stay healthy?

A new report by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield called "The Facts About the Lack of Sleep Among Upstate New York Adults," found that the average adult gets 6.6 hours of sleep each night.

But how much you sleep could be just as important as when you sleep.

The study also finds that age is a factor, as adults over 65 got the most sleep.

Not getting enough shut-eye can not only endanger you, but those around you. Just last year, the New York State Department of Health Found 5.3% of drivers admitted to nodding off at the wheel.

The Mohawk Valley Sleep Disorders Center at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center specializes in problems with sleep, and physicians there say it's important to keep a regular schedule when it comes to falling asleep and waking up.

Dr. Frank Dubeck, the Chief Medical Officer at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield says 7 to 8 hours is optimal.

Exercise will help you rest easy as will avoiding caffeine and alcoholic beverages before bedtime.

"One misconception is that a night cap will help you get to sleep," Dr. Dubeck said. "That's probably one of the worst things you can do. It will help you fall asleep, but in two to three hours, when it wears off, it will actually wake you up and you'll have had a two hour nap. So, you'll have a hard time going back to sleep. So we discourage that."

While Daylight Savings Time is time to reset your clock, it also might be a good time to reset your sleep schedule.

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