Sleep is so important to our physical and mental health that we spend roughly a third of our life doing it. Yet with the conveniences of our modern age, it always seems like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. It becomes tempting to fight back the yawns and press forward. Staying up late now and then never hurt anyone, right?
Well, maybe not from time-to-time but not getting enough sleep regularly can negatively affect your health. Depriving your body of sleep can increase your risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, migraines, and depression. It can also lower your mental capabilities like reaction times, motivation, concentration, etc.1
How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep one should get each night depends on age, but for adults over the age of 18, it is recommended that you get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Getting any less can negatively affect your physical and mental health as stated above.
Here are some tips for getting a good night’s rest.2 These tips also work with children and teenagers.
Remove yourself from all screens 30 minutes before bed. This includes cellphones, tablets, computers, TV’s, etc. If you are someone who must have something playing while going to sleep, pick out relaxing music or noises to help you relax and fall asleep.
Pick a bedtime and stick with it. Just as you give a child a bedtime, so too should you give yourself one. Go to bed at this same time every night to build up an effective sleep schedule. Set your alarm and try to wake up at the same time every morning as well.
Cut Caffeine and Sugar
You can probably guess why you should not consume caffeine and sugar before bed. This includes any “midnight snacks” you might be craving. Your body will fall asleep easier if you don’t have anything in your system designed to keep you up.
Sleep in the Right Environment for You
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, at a good temperature and relaxing for you to fall asleep easier. Everyone is different so experiment with what works for you. Once you have established this, don’t change it – keep it consistent.
This is easier to achieve on weekends and days off. Scheduling a nap can help you gain energy and focus during the day, but if not scheduled right, a nap can negetively affect your sleep at night. If you know you will need a nap, take a short one (20-30 minutes) in the middle of the day.3
1Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety [Harvard Medical School]
2Healthy Sleep Habits [American Academy of Sleep Medicine]
3Napping [Sleep Foundation]
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