Are You Sleeping Enough Hours?

Are You Sleeping Enough Hours?

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Sleep is an important component to our health. Our body requires sleep to boost the immune system. But how much sleep is enough?

Each persons sleep requirement is different. Some people can function on 5-6 hours of sleep where others need 10-11 hours for optimal function and performance. In order to determine how many hours is enough consider the following. How many hours did you sleep on average as a child? How many hours of sleep do you need to awaken naturally without an alarm? How many hours of sleep do you need in order to feel refreshed and not feel drowsy throughout the day?

The amount of sleep you need depends on many factors, one being your age. A newborn will naturally sleep 16-19 hours a day and toddlers should sleep between 10-12 hours. Older children and teens require at least nine hours to be well rested and some teens need more sleep. This is attributed to changes within their bodies.

Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep but unfortunately some only get 5-6 hours a night. But of course this depends on the individual. Senior adults have shortened sleep requirements, but this is due to increasing intrinsic sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea or joint pain.

It is important to establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every evening and getting up at the same time every day. Having a different sleep schedule on the weekends can definitely throw your schedule off. If you experience difficulties falling asleep, try getting up half an hour earlier in the morning than your usual time; this may help you fall asleep in the evening.

If you have difficulties falling asleep in the evenings some things to avoid are naps, caffeine, exercise, nicotine and alcohol use.

Naps will disrupt your sleep cycle, but you can take power naps of 15-20 minutes to boost your energy.

Caffeine intake should be reduced after 2pm. Coffee, sodas, and tea all contain caffeine an are known to make people anxious and jumpy and may interfere with your sleep patterns.

Exercise is great but you should avoid exercise 2 hours prior to your bedtime. Exercise, especially aerobic, will increase your heart rate and keep you awake. Exercise throughout the day is wonderful and will give you a sense of well being, but should be avoided close to your regular bed time.

Nicotine is a stimulator, and can increase your anxiety and nervousness. This may be a cause if you are having difficulty sleeping.

Alcohol may initially make you feel sleepy or drowsy but it can cause you to become very awake in the middle of the night. Try to avoid moderate to heavy use during the day, so as not to disrupt your sleep pattern.

Try implementing a sleep ritual before bedtime. Rituals that signal the end of the day may help with your sleep disturbances. Try closing up the house for the night, reading a book, warm calming herbal tea, warm milk, deep breathing exercises, warm baths, and meditation. All these rituals will shift your thinking from daily stressors to gear your mind to closing the day and time for rest.

Another thing to note is to keep your bedroom or bed in particular for sleep and sex only. If you use your room as an office, your mind will be thinking of work related issues and not sleep. Keeping your room temperature between 60-70 degrees will also make it more comfortable and not interfere with sleep time.

Sleep is very important to our bodies because our immune system is boosted during our sleep. It is important to get enough sleep that will make you energized in the morning and not sleepy throughout the day.

So how many hours of sleep is enough? Experts note that if you feel sleepy or drowsy during the day you are not getting enough sleep. It is also important to note that quality is just as important as quantity. If your sleep is constantly interrupted, you are not getting quality sleep. So unfortunately, I cant give you magic number of hours that you must sleep, but it is easy enough to gage now if you are getting enough quality sleep. Hope these tips have been helpful.

Posted by Dr. Mommy Health Tips on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 1:42 pm Filed under Health · Tagged with healthy, quality, quantity, sleep, sleep patterns

2 Responses to Are You Sleeping Enough Hours?

Another wonderful post Dr. Daisy! Ive always struggled with sleep issues, well for the last 8 years since a traumatic event happened in my life.

I just started making myself go to bed at 11pm every night (even on the weekends)and get up at 5:30am every morning. I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep but my body is definitely getting used to this routine and schedule.

I do notice a difference in my mood and how awake I am during the day even though Im still not getting an adequate amount of sleep (its more than Ive gotten in the past) but have started a daily/nightly routine.

This is a huge step in the right direction for me. 8 years is a long time to go being sleep deprived and its time to do something about it

Thanks for reminding me how important sleep really is!

Hi - You know, Im one of those people who needs exactly eight hours of sleep at night, and because I often dont make it to bed very early, I wont wake up then until 8 or 8:30 in the morning, and I always always beat myself up about it, but I guess Im just going to have to live with the fact that I cannot got to bed at 12:30 and wake up up 7:00 in the morning. It just makes me feel so lazy to get in a good nights sleep, like I shouldnt be entitled to it or something. And it doesnt help that waking up on my mattress every morning makes me feel like I need a trip to the chiropractors office.

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