It’s no surprise that sleep plays a huge role when it comes to physical health. But to what extent? Most medical professionals will agree that adequate, restful sleep is crucial when it comes to staying healthy and preventing disease. Those who experience sleep difficulties for long periods of time, have a higher risk of developing conditions such as hypertension, depression, diabetes, obesity, and even some forms of cancer. Not to mention, those who get more sufficient sleep typically live longer and experience a higher quality of life. Around 50-70 million Americans report suffering from some form of sleep disorder. Any medical professional will tell you that sleep is just as important to living a healthy life as diet and exercise.
So how much sleep is enough? That depends on age. The National Institute of Health suggest that school-age children require at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Teens get away with around 9 hours, and adults need around 7-8. Unfortunately, around 30% of adults receive less than 6 hours of sleep each night.
It’s not enough just to put in the hours, but the quality of sleep you get is also important. Well-rested, quality sleep involves processing through different stages or “phases” of sleep throughout the night. This means preventing disturbances throughout the night. You don’t want to be tossing and turning from discomfort, so prepare your sleeping arrangement to suit your needs while you sleep. This means enough support through pillows, and in the mattress, room temperature set to your preference, and possibly even ambient noise to help you relax. Herbal teas are also great for falling asleep gently. Valerian root and chamomile both make great herbal teas to help guide you off to sleep, and they have no negative side-effects
Don’t perform any other activity in your bed besides sleeping. What we mean is, don’t attempt to do homework, office work, reading (unless it’s just a few minutes right before bed), socializing on a smartphone, or other related activity in your bed. This helps train your body that when you are laying down in the bed, it’s time to prepare for sleep. If you take naps during the day, try to keep them around 15-20 minutes; this is just enough time to get rest but not feel groggy when you wake up. Napping during the day for longer than 30 minutes will leave you with that “useless,” groggy feeling and may disturb your nighttime sleep patterns.
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*Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006.
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1 Comments - Sleep: The Problem and The Solution
Thomas Michael Alton August 22, 2016Reply