Day in and day out, we are on the go with little recovery or downtime. Unfortunately, people don’t pay attention to their sleep until their physical or mental health is seriously affected. Getting a good night’s sleep regularly is essential to overall health and wellbeing. It affects your decision making, reaction time, focus, and mood. It even affects food choices and energy levels.
Most sleepless nights are caused by lifestyle habits. Diet, activity and stress levels, as well as electromagnetic radiation can affect sleep. Therefore, it’s important to address your routine behaviors so that you can get the rest you need for better daily function. Natural supplements may also help. In this article, I’ll explain how much sleep you need nightly as well as some good sleeping tips to help you get the rest you need.
How Much Sleep do I Need?
The need for sleep is different for each person. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that young and middle-aged adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Older adults (65+) may only need seven to eight hours.
5 Sleeping Tips for Good Rest
While the duration of sleep is important, quality is too. Building regularity is important if you have an inconsistent bedtime schedule. Depriving yourself of even 90 minutes of sleep can affect your body negatively. Below are a few other tasks that you may try to help you get quality sleep.
Plan a Sleep Schedule
Determine your recommended hours of sleep, and plan to go to bed accordingly. This is necessary for two physiological processes. The first is your sleep homeostat which measures your need for sleep and builds up during your waking hours. The second is your 24-hour circadian clock which drives your body rhythms in all aspects of physiology, behavior, and the pattern for sleep and wake. To get a good night’s sleep, your circadian clock needs to be synchronized with your local time.
By sticking to a sleep/wake schedule, sleep can become more restful. The deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM. If you don’t get sleep during this hours, you have more of a chance to wake up between 2-3 AM with difficulty falling asleep thereafter as this is the time that sleep if more superficial. By not getting sleep between 10 PM to 2 AM, you may feel more tired when you wake up the next morning.
With that being said, not everyone can sleep during these crucial hours due to work. However, setting a regular schedule will train your body to get the regenerative sleep that you need.
Eliminate Caffeine & Sugar
If you’re drinking caffeinated or sugary beverages or snacks throughout the day, you may want to eliminate them after 2 PM. Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It increases energy metabolism throughout the brain and may make sleep difficult. Also, carbohydrates leads to high blood sugar levels which is linked to less restorative sleep with more arousals.
Turn Off All Electronic Devices
Self-luminous electronic displays can affect sleep, so it’s best to shut them down at least two hours before bedtime. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, electronic readers, and televisions can emit short-wavelength (blue) light. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, begins rising about two hours prior to natural bedtime, signaling darkness and sleep to the body. When these electronic devices are used during this time, melatonin is suppressed and delays sleep. In fact, melatonin can be significantly suppressed by 23 to 38 percent.
Include Calming Techniques
With the hustle and bustle of life, the mind is sometimes difficult to shut off. This is when calming techniques are useful. Taking a soothing warm bath by candlelight, reading a good book (not work related), or sipping on chamomile tea are techniques that may help you rest better. You may also need to evaluate your sleeping quarters. Make sure the temperature in your room is cool enough. Mattress, bedding, and pillows should be comfortable to help you sink into sleep.
Try Natural Supplements
Natural botanical medicines and supplements may help you get the sleep you need without the side effects and addiction that conventional sleep drugs create. Following are a few that I recommend.
Promotes Relaxation, Sleep Onset & Sleep Quality
Calms Racing Thoughts
Supports Restful Sleeps & Healthy Adrenal Function
Boosts Melatonin to Support Sleep & Wake Cycle
Don’t let sleep deprivation affect your physical or mental health. Be sure to facilitate some of the sleeping tips I’ve recommended. You may also be interested in my article, Insulin Resistance Causes Sugar Cravings and Addiction.