Sleep is critical for health and wellness in countless ways. The amount and quality of sleep you receive impacts various aspects of life from metabolism, to brain health, and mood. Though sleep is a vital bodily function, an estimated 35% of adults receive less than the recommended amount. Additionally, 50 to 70 million adults have a sleep disorder which significantly affects the duration and quality of sleep. Lack of sleep produces a range of unpleasant symptoms: fatigue, irritability, stress, and difficulty focusing which can take a toll on your day. Taking an inventory of your sleep schedule and practicing useful strategies can profoundly enhance your sleep!
How Much Sleep is Needed and Why?
The amount of sleep that people need changes throughout life. Adequate sleep duration depends on age, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sleep guidelines include:
- Birth to 11 months: 12 – 17 hours
- 6 to 12 years: 9 – 12 hours
- 13 – 18 years: 8 – 10 hours
- 18 – 64 years: 7 – 9 hours
- 65 years and older: 7 – 8 hours
Even with these suggested guidelines, everyone’s sleep needs can vary. People in the same age group can need different amounts of sleep. You may need a solid 9 hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested while another person only needs 7. To determine the amount of sleep you need, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel rested and productive after receiving 7 hours of sleep? Or do you notice that you’re a little tired and could benefit from another hour or two of sleep?
- Do you often rely on caffeine to get through the day?
- How is the quality of your sleep? Are you restless, find yourself tossing and turning?
- Has your partner noticed anything about your sleeping?
- Do you experience any drowsiness during the day or are you pretty alert and engaged?
Asking yourself these questions when getting various amounts of sleep is a useful way to evaluate your sleep needs. Adjusting your sleep schedule by going to sleep earlier, adding an hour, or more and seeing how you feel in response can help transform your sleep.
Quality sleep is important because it provides the body with the time and space to rest and replenishes which is critical for the systems that sustain us. Sleep helps regulate hormones that are responsible for appetite, metabolism, and healing. It also supports brain health, the immune system, and reduces the risk of developing chronic medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc.).
Tips for Quality Sleep
To help create the best conditions to receive 7-9 hours of quality sleep, you can implement various strategies to enhance your sleep. This includes:
- Create a Sleep Routine. Establishing a sleep routine that you practice every night is a useful way to initiate and maintain great sleep. Your routine should involve going to sleep at the same time each night which helps your body get into a rhythm, winding down using relaxing activities before getting into bed (warm shower, light music, adjusting the lights, etc.), avoiding eating or drinking before sleep, etc.
- Establish Comfortable Settings. Creating the most optimal conditions for your comfort can enhance sleep. This can include making sure that you have the most comfortable bedding (sheets, pillows, bed, etc), adjusting the lighting in your space, creating ambient noise, trying aromatherapy, etc. These strategies create a calm environment, helping with relaxation.
- Avoid Screens. We are constantly exposed to screens from our devices. It is important to avoid this right before sleeping because this light exposure and stimulation can actually
- Use Sleep Aids. There are various sleep accessories you can use to better help you relax and initiate sleep. This includes eye masks and earplugs which are designed to reduce your exposure to light and sound – common distractions that prevent quality sleep.
- Exercise: increasing physical activity during the day can enhance sleep in a few ways. Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress and boost energy which maintains healthiness, supporting better sleep.
Integrating these tips can help you initiate and maintain quality sleep. Sleep is essential for health and wellness so receiving adequate sleep can truly transform your days! If you have experienced sleep issues, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our snoring and sleep apnea services.