Sleep experts offer solutions to staying alert

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It's been a week since daylight saving had us spring forward, and many have been in a fog ever since. (KABC)

The forward turn of the clock has been linked to an increase in car accidents, work injuries, even heart attacks.

"I find what most people tend to do, especially if we're springing forward, is they maybe push the envelope a little bit more," said dietitian and exercise physiologist, Dr. Felicia Stoler.

Stoler says it's tough for many to make small adjustments and go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, as experts suggest.

"It's tough on our body because our circadian rhythm takes time to readjust so all of our body processes need time to adjust," said Stoler.

The author of "Sleep Smarter," biologist Shawn Stevenson, suggests it might help to add foods high in magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium relaxes all cells in the body, while potassium helps us to stay asleep at night. Dark leafy greens, avocados and fish contain both minerals. There is also magnesium topicals and drinkable supplements.

Stoler is a big fan of fiber and good fats.

"Eating things like whole grain cereals, having things like quinoa, eating things like nuts and also having dried fruit. It helps us to feel better because it will help you go to the bathroom I think regularity for some people is an issue," reminded Stoler.

If you really want to sleep, then you really want to exercise. When researchers measured brain waves on those who regularly exercise. They discovered exercisers fell asleep faster, slept longer and more efficiently.

"When you get up in the morning, do a little bit of exercise. Your cortisol, if you can get it elevated in the morning, it's clinically proven to drop down in the evening. That's going to help reset your circadian rhythm," said Stevenson.

And another tip: Harvard researchers found blue light emitted from electronic devices suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin while elevating cortisol, so put away phone or tablet 90 minutes before you go to sleep.

"Simple switches in our lifestyle can help a lot," said Stevenson.
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