Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake frequently throughout the night or too early in the morning and then have a hard time going back to sleep? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions then you may be suffering from sleep debt and you’re not alone. Studies show on average about 40-60% of the general population are having trouble sleeping every night. Mainly this is due to stress, body aches and pains, uncomfortable beds and pillows along with many other issues that arise throughout the day. Getting adequate sleep is not only essential to maintain a healthy body, it is also extremely important. Quality sleep allows the body to rebuild and heal itself.
Sleep plays an important role in maintaining a person’s health and well-being over the course of their life. During sleep, your body is working to restore itself and support healthy brain function and physical health for the next day. Therefore, getting good quality sleep can help protect and improve your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life. According to the National Institute of Health, 50–70 million adults in the United States suffer from a sleep disorder or report having insufficient sleep. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to cognitive impairments such as difficulty making decisions, solving problems, learning and retaining information, controlling emotions and behaviour, or coping with change.Ongoing sleep deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.
The National Sleep Foundation issued recommendations for appropriate sleep durations. The recommended sleep guidelines show that at different stages of our lives we require different amounts of sleep. Typically, infants and newborns need nearly twice as much sleep as a fully-grown adult, and that duration reduces in slight increments as children grow into adults:
Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours each day
Infants (4–11 months): 12–15 hours
Toddlers (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
Preschoolers (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
School-age children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours
Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
Younger adults (18–25 years): 7–9 hours
Adults (26–64 years): 7–9 hours
Older adults (65+ years): 7–8 hours
It’s never too late to develop good sleep habits. Here are a few things you can do to boost your sleep quality:
Try to stick to consistent sleep and wake patterns… even on the weekend!
Avoid screen time two hours before bed (smartphones, television, smartwatches, tablets etc.)
Try to keep your bedroom dark and quiet
We all desperately want to be kindergarteners again with daily nap times but try to avoid these
Try to incorporate daily exercise routines into your schedule
Avoid caffeinated beverages hours before bedtime
These are just a few things you can do to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer!