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:
- – Diabetes
- – Difficulty concentrating
- – Increased stress
- – Heart disease
- – Memory loss
- – 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 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.