Leading a healthy lifestyle depends on many factors, the most overlooked one is sleep. Sleeping well makes all the difference in your day and without proper sleep, you’re likely to feel lethargic throughout the day. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, less productivity, moodiness, reduced creativity, and lack of concentration. It increases the risk of many diseases like depression, strokes, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
On the other hand, sleeping adequately increases productivity, boosts mood, and improves overall health. You’ve probably already experienced the difference between a good night’s sleep and sleep deprivation. But anyway, what makes the hours of sleep sufficient or insufficient and how to make sure we sleep well? Let’s find out!
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
There are different things to bear in mind when trying to determine the amount of sleep each person needs to function properly, like the person’s physical and mental health and level of activity. However, because age is the clearest factor, health experts chose it as the determining factor.
A newborn, aged 0 to 3 months, needs about 14 to 17 hours of sleep, while an infant, aged 4 to 11 months needs 11 to 14 hours. A toddler will need 12 to 14 hours but a preschooler’s sleeping range is 11 to 13 hours. From ages 6 to 13, the sleeping range is 10 to 11 hours while teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. As for younger adults and adults until the age of 64, they would function properly on 7 to 9 hours. Elders also have a minimum of 7 hours but a maximum of 8 hours. There are some exceptions for some cases, for one, a pregnant woman sleeps extra hours than the required.
How Do We Improve The Quality of Our Sleep?
There are several things we can do to ensure that we get more sleep and avoid sleep deprivation.
1. Get Comfortable
If you get comfortable, you will sleep as long as you need without interruption. Find a good long mattress that supports your body well without adding pressure to it. You’ll be able to find mattress manufacturers that offer a free trial for you to make sure you pick the right mattress. Reading about different mattresses facilitates the process of finding the one.
In addition to the mattress, a comfortable pillow and a cover sheet of an appropriate size make all the difference to your sleep. Comfort also relies on the light, sound, and temperature of the room. Ideally, you want the room to have minimum light and sound, and the temperature needs to be just right- cool, but not too cold.
2. Fixed Sleep Schedule
It’s important to have a fixed sleep schedule where you sleep and wake up at the same time, which includes weekends. This is because the body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm, starts regulating your sleep when you set a sleep schedule. It will help you fall asleep easier every night and wake up refreshed.
Exercising in the afternoon or the morning has shown to help you sleep and drowse off better at night. The reason is that when you exercise, your body temperature rises, and then by night, your body will cool itself down which will help you to fall asleep easier, and for longer. Make sure to exercise at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime.