How Much Sleep Do We REALLY Need?
It’s a game that I like to play with myself, sometimes. I’ll be binge watching a show (lately it’s been Westworld or The Good Place) and once the closing credits appear, if it’s been a particularly good episode (or a cliffhanger), I decide that one more episode probably wouldn’t hurt me…that is until I pause the feed, check the clock, run the numbers, and see that morning alarms are only a few hours away.
Lot’s of fun, right?
There is solace in knowing that I’m not alone in this behavior. More adults are getting less sleep. According to the CDC, over 40 percent of adults aged 18-60 are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night. Is it because of the binge culture? They say it’s a variety of factors, but the end result is that fewer sleep is had.
But how much sleep is enough? How do we get the right kind of sleep? Should we just sleep when we’re tired?
Let’s go over the facts first:
Recommended Sleep Amounts:
Preschoolers: 11-13 Hours of nighttime sleep, 1-2 hours daytime naps
Pre-Teen: 10-12 Hours of nighttime sleep.
Teen: 8-10 Hours of nighttime sleep
Adults: 7-9 Hours of nighttime sleep
The Sleep Foundation recommends that you change your habits if you’re not getting enough of this amount of sleep. Some symptoms of insufficient sleep are sleepiness during the day (no duh), increase in irritability, or reduced ability to retain information (learning).
People that are able to get enough sleep show signs of increased ability to focus, less likely to be overweight, perform better on tests, and are get sick fewer times.
If you’re having difficulty getting enough sleep, try a few of these:
Establish a bedtime routine – This routine can consist of shutting off the TV/computer/cell phone at least an hour before you plan to shut your eyes. Brushing your teeth, taking a warm shower, or reading for twenty minutes before sleep can all be a part of your routine. The main goal is to alert (trick!) your body into a sleepy mood. IF you keep to a routine, your brain will more easily pick up that it’s time for some shut-eye (and NOT be inclined to replay all your embarrassing high school moments!)
Avoid food/drink before bed – This includes items that have caffeine (such as coffee, tea, soda pops, energy drinks (duh), chocolate, etc).
Give these a try and let us know if your sleeping habits change for the better.