November 10, 2022

Sleep Well and Awaken Refreshed

Sleep is an essential part of your body’s mental and physical wellness. However, it’s easy to forget how important sleep is until you have trouble getting it. 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults between 18 and 64. Adults over 65 may need 7-8 hours. Yet more than one-third of adults in the National Sleep Foundation’s 2020 Sleep in America Poll aren’t getting the recommended sleep and feel sleepy during the day for at least half the week or more. Many say it affects their mood, mental sharpness, and productivity daily.

What is good quality sleep?

Getting good sleep depends on a lot of things, including the kind of sleep you get. For instance, slow-wave sleep is the most restful and helps you feel ready for the next day.

You also go in and out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the stage of sleep during which you dream. REM is what keeps your mind sharp and on task so you can be as productive as possible.

If you're always tired when you wake up, it could be that you're not getting enough deep sleep.

How to get more good quality sleep

Did you know that a good night’s sleep starts with what you do during the day? In fact, from the moment you wake up, you’re affecting your sleep that night.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests all of the following to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Get some sun. The appropriate amount of light exposure is crucial for managing your circadian rhythms, which control when you naturally get up and go to sleep. As a result, it makes sense that bright, natural light during the day, especially in the morning, helps you feel alert and energized while dimmer light at night, particularly just before bed, aids in winding down and falling asleep.

Limit Light Exposure at Night. Light exposure at night can throw off your body's internal clock, keeping you awake when you shouldn't be and interfering with your ability to go asleep. This is because as the night falls, our brain begins to create melatonin, a hormone that naturally regulates sleep. At least an hour before your typical bedtime, dim the lights as you unwind in the evening and switch off any screens (phones, tablets, televisions, and laptops).

Get up and get moving. Making regular exercise part of your daily routine keeps you energized during the day, can reduce daytime sleepiness, and can help you feel more tired at the end of your day.

Have meals at consistent times. Eating your meals at a consistent time each day creates another important element of your daily routine that positively affects your sleep cycle. Plan on eating meals at the same time every day, and be sure to have your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow your food to fully digest before you turn in for the night.

Cut back on caffeine. The less caffeinated you are during the day, the more likely you’ll sleep well at night.

Turn off your devices and quieten your mind. Engaging with your devices, such as playing a game or scrolling your social media feed, engages your mind, keeping it running and preventing you from relaxing before bed. If you must have your phone in your bedroom, that’s okay, just don’t have it in bed.

Create a space free of disruption. A sleep-friendly bedroom is dark, quiet, cool, and free of anything that might wake you up during the night.

Still not sleeping well?

While a few restless nights may not be a big deal, getting consistently poor sleep can really take a toll on your health. If you’re regularly having trouble sleeping OR experiencing daytime fatigue even though you thought you slept soundly through the night, it might be time to talk to a doctor about your concerns.

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