How to Get Enough Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleeping is not a luxury – it is a necessity! A good night’s sleep is just as crucial to maintaining health, a beautiful appearance, and overall wellness as is a healthy diet and proper exercise.
How to Tell If You Are Getting Enough Sleep
Contrary to what you may have learned in the past, there is no magic number as to how much sleep a person needs – everyone is different and needs differing amounts of sleep.
You probably know instinctively how much sleep is right for you. One way to get an idea of how much sleep is right for you is simply based on how you feel, especially your mood after hours of sleep the previous night.
The Importance of Sleep
The reason why sleep is so important is because it is a restorative process. While we sleep, our brain cycles through the 3 stages of sleep: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
The sleep cycle restores, rejuvenates, and energizes the body and brain. Our immune systems recharge during this time, cells grow and repair themselves, and our bodies conserve energy.
But what happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Unfortunately, to many women and men, sleep is not valued enough.
In our “open all night” society we live in, studies show that 4 out of 10 Americans are trading in much-needed sleep hours for longer hours at the office, gym, club, and other activities which seem more important or interesting. What they may not realize is that lack of sleep takes a toll on our mental and physical well-being.
Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep
Studies performed by the National Sleep Foundation show that even minimal sleep loss has a profoundly detrimental impact on mood, cognition, performance, productivity, communication skills, accident rates, and general health.
For optimal functioning throughout the day, the average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. According to the NSF, the American adult population functions on about six and a half hours of sleep per night.
Not Getting Enough Sleep?
For some, lack of sleep is not a choice but a condition. Millions of Americans suffer from insomnia. According to the NSF, a third of Americans are using over the counter or prescription sleep aids at night.
If you’re suffering from insomnia, here are a few tips to get enough sleep at night:
- Avoid caffeinated food and beverages like coffee, teas, soft drinks, and chocolate 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly but complete your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Keeping your body calm in the evening hours helps you sleep when it’s time to sleep.
- Make sure your mattress is the right one for you. Flip your mattress over periodically to maintain it.
- If you are a spiritual person, pray before bedtime. “Don’t go to bed with a heavy load. Give it to God.”
- Develop a bedtime ritual. Taking a warm bath before bedtime will relax your body and usually make you feel sleepy.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable.
- Have a warm drink.
- Play relaxing music.
- Go to bed and wake up the same time every day. When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.