Sleep is about not only the duration of sleep, but also the quality. Recommended hours of sleep per day vary with age, ranging from 17 hours per day for newborns to seven hours per day for people 65 years of age and older.
During these hours of sleep, adults should wake up feeling well rested, not repeatedly waking up during the night, or experiencing other disruptive behaviors, such as gasping for air.
Insufficient sleep has major public health implications. Not only does a lack of quality sleep contribute to motor vehicle crashes and decreased productivity, but also may cause people to suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and depression.
There are simple adjustments you can make that help improve the quality of your sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, and always avoid nicotine.
Sleep well and rest up! For more research, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on sleep and sleep disorders here.