How Much Sleep Should You Really Be Getting?

Sleep is a necessity – not a luxury. As such, getting a great night’s sleep should be a priority for individuals of all ages. However, recent data indicates that many Americans understand the importance of restful sleep yet fail to act on it.

A study of U.S. adults conducted by The Better Sleep Council revealed 48 percent of respondents said they do not get sufficient sleep. Conversely, less than half of these respondents noted they fail to take action to improve their sleep habits.

Furthermore, the study showed many problems could arise due to a lack of sleep, including:

  1. – Diabetes
  2. – Difficulty concentrating
  3. – Increased stress
  4. – Heart disease
  5. – Memory loss
  6. – Stroke

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) state the average adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

With the right amount of sleep, an individual will be better equipped to maximize his or her day-to-day productivity. On the other hand, a person who routinely loses sleep may suffer the consequences of “sleep debt,” i.e. missing out on sleep over an extended period of time.

So what does it take to resolve sleep debt and guarantee restful sleep night after night? Here are five tips to help you get the Zzz’s you need:

1. Address Sleep Debt.

The longer you ignore your sleep debt, the worse it may become. Fortunately, those who address their sleep debt immediately can put this problem in the past.

Remember, sleep debt may slow you down, making you feel tired and exhausted throughout the day. But those who rest can minimize this issue and will be better equipped to prevent it from becoming a recurring problem.

2. Stick to a Sleep Schedule.

 Although you may wake up early on weekdays and sleep late on weekends, this sleep schedule may wind up doing more harm than good for those who want to enjoy restful sleep.

An inconsistent sleep schedule sometimes can make it difficult for an individual to fall or stay asleep. Thus, if you fail to establish a sleep schedule that works for you, restless nights could become an ongoing occurrence.

Comparatively, those who develop and stick to a sleep schedule may enjoy the benefits of their efforts for years to come.

If you can go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, you may be better equipped to get the sleep you need to optimize your everyday productivity. Plus, you should have no trouble feeling tired at the end of the day and waking up feeling refreshed in the morning if you stick to a sleep schedule.

3. Establish a Bedtime Routine.

Bedtime may be a stressful time for many individuals, and perhaps it’s easy to understand. With a busy day of work, class or other activities right around the corner, it might be tough not to think about the next day’s events.

A bedtime routine can make it easier for you to wind down at the day’s conclusion and focus on what’s important – getting the rest you need over the next several hours.

Typically, a good bedtime routine will include dimming the lights in your bedroom and putting away your smartphone, tablet and any other bright, distracting electronics.

You also might want to consider listening to calm, soothing music or reading your favorite book to help you relax before bed. By doing so, you may be able to fall asleep quickly and rest comfortably throughout the night.

4. Eat Healthy and Exercise.

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising throughout the day may put you in a great position to reap the benefits of uninterrupted sleep.

Your liver, pancreas and other organs will respond well to a healthy diet. But if you eat fatty treats or late-night snacks, these foods could throw your body out of rhythm. As a result, you may be forced to deal with sleepless nights if you fail to maintain a healthy diet.

Meanwhile, WebMD points out exercising at least 150 minutes per week has been shown to help people sleep better at night and remain more alert during the day.

5. Pick Up a Comfortable Mattress.

An old, worn-out mattress may prove to be a leading culprit for an individual who struggles to fall asleep at night. But those who spend some time evaluating all of the mattress types that are available are sure to find a comfortable, supportive mattress that will perform consistently.

Ideally, you should try out several mattresses to find one that suits your body type, health and personal needs. And if you work with a proven mattress supplier that employs professionally trained sleep consultants, you should be able to test a broad range of mattresses any time you choose.

Make sleep a priority, and ultimately, you’ll be able to get sufficient rest every night.

How Should You Be Sleeping? 4 Sleep Positions You Need to Know About

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Are you sleeping comfortably? A great night’s rest will help ensure you’re ready to take on any challenges that come your way. In addition, how you sleep may impact more than just your day-to-day approach to challenges, which is reflected in a recent study.

A Better Sleep Council study revealed that your sleep position may determine your personality. As such, you’ll want to sleep in a comfortable position every night; otherwise, failure to do so could negatively affect your personality.

So what are the best sleep positions? Here’s a closer look at four sleep positions you need to know about:

1. On Your Back

 The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) ranks sleeping on your back as the top sleep position – despite the fact that only 8 percent of adults sleep on their back.

Sleeping on your back enables you to relax your head, neck and spine consistently, according to the NSF. And if you face the ceiling while you rest, you may be better equipped to fight off acid reflux as well.

Although sleeping on your back offers a number of benefits, it is important to note that snoring can become more severe in this position. Thus, if you suffer from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, you may want to consider another position.

2. On Your Side

 If you sleep on your side, your spine becomes elongated, which can help you minimize neck pain.

Also, sleeping on your side represents an ideal option for those who struggle with snoring, and it will enable you to keep your airways open throughout the night.

The NSF reports approximately 15 percent of adults sleep on their side. Furthermore, wrinkles remain the lone downside of sleeping on your side, as wrinkles may form due to the fact that half of your face pushes against a pillow.

3. In the Fetal Position

 The most popular sleeping position for adults, the fetal position has been shown to enhance circulation in the body. Plus, it represents a great sleeping position for pregnant women and minimizes the risk of the uterus pressing against the liver.

On the other hand, the fetal position may restrict breathing in your diaphragm if you curl up too tightly. Therefore, you should try to straighten your body as much as possible if you decide the fetal position is right for you.

4. On Your Stomach

 The NSF points out 7 percent of adults sleep on their stomach, and this sleep position can help reduce snoring.

Conversely, sleeping on your stomach puts additional pressure on the muscles and joints, which may lead to aches, numbness and tingling. Sleeping on your stomach also has been associated with back and neck pain, and it can be difficult to keep the spine in a neutral position if an individual sleeps on his or her stomach.

If you sleep on your stomach, be sure to lie face-down with your forehead propped up on a pillow. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep your upper airways open while you sleep.

Ultimately, it is important to find a sleep position that ensures you can enjoy restful sleep. After you find the right sleep position, you’ll be better equipped to get plenty of Zzz’s night after night.

Why Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

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Did you know that your gender may affect how much sleep you need to maximize your productivity? That’s right, and according to recent data, women usually require more sleep than men.

Sleep science expert Dr. Jim Horne points out the average woman needs about 20 minutes of more sleep than men – perhaps for good reason. Horne notes women commonly multi-task more frequently and use more of their actual brain than men, and as such, need extra rest to optimize their efficiency.

Furthermore, Edward Suarez, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, tells Shape Magazine that poor sleep frequently has a bigger impact on women than men. He stated that a recent sleep study showed reduced sleep in women was associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, along with additional stress, depression, anger and anxiety.

Other factors may impact a woman’s sleep as well, including:

  • – Sleep problems during pregnancy due to excess weight and the position of the fetus.
  • – Hot flashes related to menopause.
  • – Going to bed worrying, and as a result, missing out on sleep.

Nothing beats a great night’s sleep, regardless of whether you’re a man or woman. However, getting sufficient sleep often remains difficult for men and women alike.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states roughly 40 million Americans suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders annually. In addition, about 20 million Americans experience occasional sleep problems.

So what can men and women do to minimize sleep problems? The National Sleep Foundation offers the following recommendations:

  • – Exercise Every Day. Regular exercise will help you remain active and healthy, and ultimately, may make it easier to go to bed feeling tired and sleep throughout the night.
  • – Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake. Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption throughout the day or in the hours prior to bedtime can make it tough for you to fall asleep. Conversely, those who limit alcohol and caffeine intake may be better equipped to get the Zzz’s they need night after night.
  • – Modify Your Sleep Environment. Loud noises, bright lights or other distractions may keep you up at night. But those who spend some time creating a calm, relaxing sleep environment could reap the benefits of a great night’s rest consistently.

Let’s not forget about how your mattress can affect your sleep patterns, either. If you try to sleep on an old, uncomfortable mattress, you’re unlikely to get the rest you need to maximize your productivity and efficiency.

Fortunately, Sit ‘n Sleep can help you find your perfect mattress. To learn more about our mattress options, please explore our website or visit one of our Southern California mattress superstores.

A Good Sleep a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away

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“Sleep is actually important for just about everything,” says Dr. Michael Breus, Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in Sleep Disorders. “Everything from immune system to cognition, how you think, how quickly you react.[i]

Sleep plays a critical role in keeping both the body and mind healthy. Sleep is essential to maintaining and repairing key internal functions, as well as helping to protect mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. All the functions that are affected by sleep may also be negatively affected by a lack of sleep, which can be even more detrimental to one’s health by increasing the risk of serious diseases, obesity and other ailments.[ii]

So, how does sleep benefit us, and how is a lack of sleep detrimental to our health? Read on to learn more…

Function and Development:

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to the brain and body’s functions. When the body is asleep, it’s helping to repair cells and tissues and build muscle mass.[iii] Alternatively, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke.[iv]

One night of sleep loss alone increases toxic substances in the body that can lead to cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Getting only a few hours of a sleep has also been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. [v]

Sleep also impacts the brain and can affect how well a person thinks, learns, reacts, works, and gets along with others.[vi] A lack of sleep can negatively alter brain activity, causing problems with decision-making, memory, attention span, and ability to control emotions and behavior.[vii]

Everyday Health:

Sleep is a critical factor in day-to-day health. Sleep deficiency has been shown to severely disrupt the normal functioning of the immune system, which makes the body more at risk to infections and sickness.[viii]  This reaction is also happens in response to extreme stress.

Lack of sleep can be especially detrimental to children and teens, since their risk of being overweight as an adult increases due to poor sleep habits as a child.[ix] Sleep deprivation in teens can also lead to unhealthy behaviors and may onset feelings of depression and anxiety.[x]

 How Can We Improve the Quality of our Sleep and the Quality of our Health?

Create a sleep routine by maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the same time every day – even on weekends.

Try to eliminate noise and light at bedtime, which can interrupt sleep. If you cannot avoid noise or light, try wearing earplugs and sleep masks to mitigate outside distractions. In addition to a cool, quiet room, a comfortable and supportive mattress can eliminate physical discomfort throughout the night that might lead to sleep disruption.

Mattress fit is one of the most critical factors in getting a good night’s sleep. It is important to get the correct mattress fit as each body responds differently to different types of mattresses. Since everyone’s sleep needs are unique, invest in a mattress that provides the right amount of firmness and support to ensure body comfort and an uninterrupted healthy night’s sleep.

Just Relax…

Sleeping problems can be a vicious cycle, with a lack of sleep causing extra anxiety, and extra anxiety making it harder still to fall asleep the next night. Combine those factors with the body’s natural, negative reaction to deal with stress rather than ignore it and you’ll find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Deep breathing or meditation can help to de-stress before hitting the sheets. Yoga can also be a relaxer; some slow stretches will help the body and mind unwind before going to sleep.[xi] Reading a book, taking a bath, listening to soft music, or drinking herbal (non-caffeinated) tea are all good calming activities to do before bed and will subliminally prepare the mind for sleep.[xii]

Make a healthy night’s sleep a priority, and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy body too.

[i] http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/content/Sleep

[ii] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2011/07/tv-nightmares-and-childrens-sleep.html

[iii] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/active-sleep-is-not-an-oxymoron.html

[iv] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/08/sleep-as-dangerous-as-stress-on-healthy-immune-function.html

[v] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/fit-and-sleepless-can-equal-heart-attack.html

[vi] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/02/your-brain-on-sleep.html

[vii] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2009/10/big-decisions-decided-after-allnighters-by-the-sleep-doctor.html

[viii] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/08/sleep-as-dangerous-as-stress-on-healthy-immune-function.html

[ix] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2008/11/sleepless-kids-become-fat-adults.html

[x] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/active-sleep-is-not-an-oxymoron.html

[xi] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2008/06/insomnia-gets-a.html

[xii] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/07/rock-yourself-to-sleep.html

[1] http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/content/Sleep

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2011/07/tv-nightmares-and-childrens-sleep.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/active-sleep-is-not-an-oxymoron.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/08/sleep-as-dangerous-as-stress-on-healthy-immune-function.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/fit-and-sleepless-can-equal-heart-attack.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/02/your-brain-on-sleep.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2009/10/big-decisions-decided-after-allnighters-by-the-sleep-doctor.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2012/08/sleep-as-dangerous-as-stress-on-healthy-immune-function.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2008/11/sleepless-kids-become-fat-adults.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/03/active-sleep-is-not-an-oxymoron.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2008/06/insomnia-gets-a.html

[1] http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2010/07/rock-yourself-tosleep.html