Between pandemic stress, work, and home life, we are all going to have some bad nights of sleep. However, if you find yourself having more than a few nights of bad rest, it can start to really impact your health.
According to Johns Hopkins, “chronic poor sleep may increase the likelihood of developing dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate. Poor sleep can also affect the ability to function while performing daily tasks like working or driving.”
The hours of sleep you should get each night depends on your age. Here are the guidelines according to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Adults aged 65 years and older: 7 – 8 hours.
- Adults aged 26 to 64 years: 7 – 9 hours.
- Young adults, 18 to 25 years: 7 – 9 hours.
- Teenagers, 14 to 17 years: 8 – 10 hours.
- School-age children, 6 to 13 years: 9 – 11 hours.
- Preschool children, 3 to 5 years: 10 – 13 hours.
- Toddlers, 1 to 2 years: 11 – 14 hours.
- Infants, 4 to 11 months: 12 – 15 hours.
- Newborns, 0 to 3 months: 14 – 17 hours.
While the range accounts for personal preference, you may see some health issues occur if you find yourself falling short of that.
Those that cannot fall asleep or stay asleep should speak to a doctor because it may be from conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia. These diagnoses can require treatment, so talk with your physician. Additionally, these tips can help you strive for a better night of rest.
How to Get Better Sleep: Steps for During the Day
Watch caffeine intake: Try to avoid any caffeinated beverages for at least five or six hours before you go to sleep, as it might be keeping you awake.
Get some exercise: People that work out regularly tend to have fewer sleep problems and even less tiredness during the day, so try to walk, run, or move around regularly.
Avoid long daytime naps: Try not to sleep too close to the time you go to bed and keep naps short.
Get natural sunlight: Studies show that natural light exposure during the day can help you sleep better at night.
How to Get Better Sleep: Steps for Before Bedtime
Stay away from screens: The light from our cell phones or TV can encourage wakefulness and keep brains active, so stay away from screentime or put your phone on night mode before bed.
Get comfortable: Make sure to have a dark and slightly cooler room, which helps most of us sleep at night. Try using a sound machine (or sound machine app) if there is a lot of background noise in your space.
Stick to protein-rich snacks before bed: A snack with protein, such as almonds, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, or whole-grain cereal, will fill you up and keep you full longer.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco products: These products can make rest difficult.
Create (and stick to) a routine: Many of us do things every night, such as reading a book, meditating, or relaxing in the tub. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day and night also helps with sleep.
Try to make good sleep at night a priority so that you feel better during the day. If you still struggle after these tips, talk to your doctor.