How important is Sleep
When it comes to sleep, the standard advice is all across the board, but how much sleep do you really need? The answer is not as clear cut as it seems, with it varying based on many different factors that tests have been done to consider. Let’s go through the most common ones and see just how it may affect your need for sleep.
Age plays a huge role in how much sleep a person needs. With the help of many different research studies, there is now a much clearer guideline. As we have always been told, babies and kids all the way through their teens need between nine and eleven hours of sleep each day, but they usually take this all at one time. Adult usually need between 7 and 8 to wake up feeling rested, but this is not a trend that continues.
As you age past a certain point, your need for sleep continues to go up, but your ability to sleep for long periods of time goes down. In order to avoid sleep deprivation, what ends up happening for older adults is that they need between nine and eleven hours, but they take it in two to three segments, making up for any shortage with naps during the day and staying in bed longer at night.
There has been shown that a genetic basis for needing more or less sleep can exist and does in some cases. Some families need only six hours of sleep a night, while others do not do well with any less than nine, however, these trends ten to run in families suggesting a strong genetic basis for these issues.
During pregnancy, as one would expect, the need for sleep rises drastically. If not enough sleep is gotten, all different muscle groups of the body that do not rest unless asleep may begin to ache. The best idea is to try to take relaxation naps that are long enough to let these muscles relax once a day, in addition to sleeping normally allowing your body to recharge midday and stop moodiness before it ever hits.
Your quality of life is what is on the line here, and when you are sleep deprived for whatever reason, you can see the effects on every aspect of your life. Your performance will trend downwards as well as your ability to focus on tasks and get things done.
However, this does not mean that making up for sleep on the weekends works. You can’t erase your debt of sleep deprivation in a mere two days of sleeping over, and in fact, you will just end up further exacerbating your sleeping schedule. Try instead sleeping a normal and ideal pattern on the weekends and trying to keep that pattern you started throughout the next week. It’s all about making a routine, and if you do, the deprivation will recede.
Health Problems And Medications
Chronic issues with your health may affect just how you can sleep or how easily you can get to sleep. Understanding just how your health issues affect your sleep is half the battle to getting to a better sleep, so ask your doctor how to ease things like chronic bronchitis, asthma, or arthritis to aid you in getting good sleep.
Also, many common over the counter or prescription medications have things in them that will keep you awake, and if you want that good night’s sleep you are craving, it is a good idea to learn which ones do what and how you can counteract those with a better understanding of when to take them and how they work. Again, ask your doctor or pharmacist about how different medications may affect your sleep, even if they seem benign.
The Sweet Spot
There have been many studies suggesting that having more than nine hours of sleep as well as having less than seven hours of sleep are both damaging to one’s physical and mental well being. This is as serious as it gets, with these studies linking sleeping habits to mortality rate as well, so to help yourself through a better life, try to get some sleep.
Beyond The Numbers
However, all of this talk does nothing if you still feel sleepy at the end of each day. You must watch your own habits, and if you tend to fall asleep during low activity parts of the day, think on how much sleep you are getting. Does it feel enough? Are you able to focus with ease? Are you reacting emotionally the way you would expect to react emotionally? These are all hot buttons to keep an eye on that will let you know if your sleep is ideal for you.
Improving the quality of your sleep is important, and if you find yourself consistently unable to improve your sleep quality, you may need to ask a doctor. They can look for underlying causes or signs of serious issues that you would not be able to find and help you fix them. Take control of your life and your sleep today for a healthier and better you tomorrow.