Do you know how much sleep you really need? Or that lack of sleep causes weight gain? How about the proper temperature for optimal sleep? Find out here…
Sleep: who needs it? We all do. Those who sleep well have stronger immune systems, less inflammation, tend to weigh less, and have better memories, attention spans, and stamina.
Chronic lack of sleep leaves you prone to depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
But how much sleep is really enough? Though the exact amount varies somewhat person to person, adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep. Children and adolescents need more: 9-11 hours.
6 tips for a better night’s sleep:
1. Make a sleep routine. Bedtime and most importantly wake-up time should be the same, even on the weekends and days off.
2. Get comfy. Your mattress should be comfortable, and the room dark, cool and quiet. How cool? How about 65 degrees? Brr!
3. Watch the food and drink. No alcohol two hours before bed. For caffeine it’s a lot longer: best to avoid caffeine after 4 pm or even earlier. Also avoid large meals before bedtime.
4. Exercise! Daily exercise is beneficial to sleep, but remember it’s best to avoid exercise during the four hours before bedtime.
5. Limit the naps. It’s best to avoid naps if possible. If you choose to nap during day, make it a power-nap: 10-30 minutes during early-mid afternoon.
6. Set aside time to relax before bed. Create a bedtime ritual such as gentle stretching or reading with lights dimmed. Be careful not to make TV, computer, or your phone part of the bedtime ritual.
Some ways you might be sabotaging your sleep:
How old is your mattress?
• Older mattresses lose their support and become less comfortable. Do you wake up with aches and pains? Consider getting a new mattress that’s comfortable to you.
What temp is your thermostat set on at night?
• Remember the optimal temperature for sleep is a chilly 65 degrees. A warm bedroom is not conducive to sleep.
Do you keep tablets, computers or phones plugged in somewhere in your bedroom?
• Lose the electronics! Even the small amount of light emitted from these devices while charging can be disruptive to sleep. Not to mention vibrations/tones from your phone at night, especially if you’re cued to listen for them. Consider getting a real alarm clock so you don’t depend on your phone for an alarm in the morning.
Does your partner snore? Family pet sleep in the bed?
• This can be obviously disruptive to sleep. Encourage your partner to see a doctor about snoring as it can be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder. Consider ear plugs, a fan, or other white noise machine. And make sure pets have a comfortable place to sleep outside the bed.
Dr. Amber C. Bazler, MD
WellQuest Medical Center and Spa