Sometimes it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to conquer our "to-do" lists. Between work, the kids, household duties, squeezing in a workout and the occasional late night out with friends - it's exhausting! All that activity takes a toll on your body and mind which is why it's important to recover and rejuvenate with a good night's sleep.
Sleep is a necessity; it is just as important as food, water, and the air we breathe. Sleep regulates mood, your level of alertness, and is related to learning and memory functions. It also contributes to your overall well-being, heart health, weight and energy level.
More than 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. When a body is sleep deprived, it can lead to personal injury and serious health concerns, such as:
- A greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
- Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease
- Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
- Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
- Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
How much sleep do adults really need?
Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This allows adequate time to reach the various phases of sleep, maximizing your body's recovery. However, sleep needs vary based on age, gender, activity level and our environment so it's important to pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and adjust your sleep patterns accordingly. If you are nodding off throughout the day or have trouble concentrating, try increasing the amount of sleep you're get on a regular basis.
To help establish better sleep patterns, try following these tips:
Start making sleep a top priority, rather than something you do once everything else on your "to-do" list is done. When you designate time for rest and recovery, your health, safety and productivity will improve as a result!
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime, and give up smoking
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine at least 1-hour before the time you expect to fall asleep
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows