Nothing beats a good night sleep, and for good reason. Getting enough sleep is essential for our body to function and stay healthy. However, whether or not you get a full night of sleep is entirely up to you. From staying up late working to going out with friends until the early morning, we’ve all had those nights where we’ve woken up the next morning running on only 3 or 4 hours. While you may feel like that small amount of sleep is enough to get you through the day, not getting enough sleep can turn into a habit, which will be severely detrimental to your health in the long run.
How Much Sleep Should I Be Getting?
Getting in a healthy sleep schedule will help you feel more rested and energized each day. So how much sleep should you actually be getting each night? For all adults 18 years old and up, you should be getting about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to keep your body rested and healthy. For those that are younger, the recommended amount of sleep varies greatly. For kids that are between the ages of 1 and 5, they need approximately 10 to 14 hours of sleep, while the ages of 6 to 17 need about 8 to 11 hours of sleep.
Tips For A Good Night's Rest
There are countless things that can prevent us from having a good night’s sleep, but if you put your mind to it and prioritize your sleep, you can make sure that you get the rest you need each night. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, here are few tips that can make it easier to get that recommended number of restful hours.
Lower Your Caffeine Intake
While many of us need that cup of coffee or tea in the morning to wake up and get through our day, too much caffeine will make it more difficult to fall asleep later at night, since it can interfere with our body’s natural sleep cycles. If you’re a regular caffeine drinker and you’re having trouble sleeping or feel like you’re not getting enough rest, try cutting down on how much caffeine you consume through your day and you’ll start to notice the difference.
Cut Down Electronic Usage At Night
When it comes to our technology, it’s common practice to check your texts before you go to sleep, or do a quick scroll through our social media feeds on your phone, or binge watch a TV show late into the night. Unfortunately, the blue light that’s emitted from the screens on your electronic devices actually suppress the production of melatonin in our body, which is the hormone that controls your sleep cycle or “circadian rhythm”. Also, while using electronics, your brain stays alert, which can trick your body into thinking that it needs to stay awake instead of getting rest. That’s why you don’t feel as tired and it’s so difficult to fall asleep after you’ve been watching TV or looking at your smartphone. If you want to get more sleep, do your best to avoid using your smartphone, tablet, TV, etc.
Create A Comfortable Environment
A huge factor that could be preventing you from getting the sleep you need is the environment that you’re sleeping in. If you’re not feeling comfortable in your bed or in the room that you’re sleeping in, do you best to make the room and your bed more comfortable for you. Changing the temperature to a level that you prefer, or even getting a new, more comfortable mattress can make all the difference. You spend about one third of your whole life sleeping, so if you’re going to invest in anything, get yourself a comfortable bed that you can get a good night’s sleep in every night.
A consistent workout schedule can actually help you get better sleep, since exercise will use up energy and tire you out. If you feel tired from working out, it’ll be easier to fall asleep at the end of the night, since your body will desperately need to rest in order to recover and rebuild. It also doesn’t matter what time during the day that you do your exercise, whether it’s early in the morning or right before your bedtime.
Keep A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Taking some time on the weekends to “catch up” on sleep, or dedicating yourself to getting one night of good rest isn’t going to be enough to get you back to a healthy sleep state. Do your best to get yourself on a consistent sleep schedule. Having a specific time that you fall asleep each night and wake up each morning will get your body’s sleeping cycle in sync with those times, making it easier to fall asleep or wake up.
What Lack Of Sleep Does To You
While we’ve been talking about ways you can get more sleep to be healthier and happier, on the other end of spectrum is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. Here are just some of the downsides to not getting a good night’s rest:
- Lower Alertness - Not getting enough sleep means that your brain isn’t functioning at its highest capacity, making your reactions and thought processes slower.
- Impaired Memory - Lack of sleep affects your ability to absorb and recall information.
- Higher Levels Irritability & Stress - the less sleep you get, the more moody you become, making it more difficult and stressful when interacting with others
- Lower Quality Of Life - When you’re tired, you’re more likely to shy away from activity.
- Greater Likelihood For Car Accidents - With lower reaction times, driving while tired is extremely dangerous
Contact Your Local Family Physician In Baldwinsville, NY
If you have trouble sleeping or feel like you may not be getting the amount of sleep you need, contact your local physician at Northway Medical Associates. Just contact us and book an appointment to meet with us, and we’ll help you achieve a healthier you. We have two office locations, proudly offering comprehensive medical care to the families of Fulton, Baldwinsville, and the surrounding areas.