Am I Getting Enough Sleep?
The quantity and quality of your sleep play an important role in overall health. We all know what a difference a good night’s sleep can make in energy level and outlook toward life. How do you know when you’re getting enough good quality sleep? You know when you feel well-rested and refreshed.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
If you are like most people, life can place demands on you that cut into your time allocated for sleeping. You may even lose sleep if you are engrossed in a good book at bedtime. But losing out on sleep can affect how well the next day goes. It can make you less cheerful, less productive, and more likely to be involved in a car accident. In the long run, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic lack of sleep can affect your mental health, shorten your lifespan, and increase your risk for:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Type 2 diabetes
How Much Sleep Do People Need?
According to the CDC, adults from the ages of 18 to 60 need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Teenagers need more – eight to 10 hours per 24-hour period – and younger children require even more sleep. Preschoolers need up to 13 hours, while school-age children require between nine and 12 hours of sleep per night. Infants four to 12 months old are likely to sleep for more than half of each 24-hour period – at least 12, and up to 16 hours.
How Important Is Sleep Quality?
The quality of sleep you get is as important as the quantity. Your sleep quality may be poor if you find yourself waking up repeatedly throughout the night, snoring or gasping for air, or if you still feel tired or lack energy after sleeping for long enough that you should feel well-rested. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms — you may have a sleep disorder. If you need health insurance, our friendly agent can help you find the right plan.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Sleep?
If you want to improve your sleep quality and quantity, cultivate the following good sleep habits:
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bedtime.
- Get daily exercise. Physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night.
- Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, quit.
- Clear your bedroom of electronic devices, including computers, TVs, and cell phones.
- Make sure the room where you sleep is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Losing weight may also improve your sleep quality. In a study published by John Hopkins Medicine, researchers found that weight loss, particularly the abdomen, enhances the quality of sleep among people who are overweight or obese.
It may take some reorganizing and self-discipline to ensure you get enough sleep, but it will be worth it. Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can make all the difference in your overall health and quality of life.