How to get more sleep every night, not just as we gain an hour this weekend

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We change our clocks Saturday night, gaining an hour. Doctors say if you're sleep-deprived, it's a good time to change some habits so you can get more rest every night.

Sipping seems to be affecting Elaina Niemeier's sleeping. She downs a soft drink during the day and tea at night.

"Unfortunately, I sip on it until sometimes til 10 or 11 o'clock at night," said Niemeier.

The drink contains caffeine, a stimulant. It's one likely reason why Niemeier is getting just four to five hours of sleep versus the seven to nine that's recommended.

"It's kinda self-inflicted, if you will," she said.

A sleep specialist at North Kansas City Hospital, Dr. Scott Shorten, says stop the caffeine from soft drinks, coffee, tea or energy drinks "at least five to six hours before bedtime because it can last that long and, of course, cause problems falling asleep initially."

Then there's that other habit.

"If I'm on my cell phone, that just stimulates me more and makes me stay awake longer," said Niemeier.

"People should avoid any kind of electronics for at least an hour before bedtime," said Dr. Shorten.

He says the light emitted supresses the body's melatonin which otherwise helps you feel sleepy. In addition, our brains can become too engaged with whatever is on the screen.

We've been engaged lately. The election has us losing sleep, according to Fitbit and other tracker systems. They found the nights of the debates, users slept five to 10 minutes less on on average.

"Let it go for the night," said Dr. Shorten.

On election night, know that the results and reviews will be there the next morning.

Dr. Shorten also says don't take a hot bath or shower right at bedtime. That raises the body temperature which makes it harder to sleep. Also, adults need a consistent bedtime and waking time just as kids do.

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