According to the NSF, most adults need approximately seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel fully rested and well prepared for the following day.
The amount of sleep needed varies between person and age group. Regardless of demographics, if an individual does not get the proper amount of rest each night, a sleep debt can occur. Studies show that at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.
Physicians have diagnosed more than 70 different sleep disorders, including restless legs syndrome, insomnia and sleep apnea. An insufficient amount of sleep is closely associated with unhealthy behavior and chronic conditions — such as, obesity, depression, diabetes and heart disease.
To improve your sleep habits, below are some helpful tips from AdvantageCare Physicians — the multispecialty physician-led medical practice and partner of EmblemHealth.
- Try to limit technology use — tablets, smartphones or computers — in the hours before bed. The light from these devices and the emotions that can result from checking email or social media sites can make it harder to unwind and fall asleep.
- Keep the room cool and dark. If you can’t darken the room, use a sleep mask.
- Limit caffeine during the day, and try not to consume at least four to six hours before bedtime.
- Go to bed at a regular time every night and wake up at the same time each morning, including weekends.
- Set aside time for problem solving earlier in the day so that you don’t carry anxious thoughts to bed. Keep a notepad by your bed to write down any thoughts or worries that may keep you up or wake you up during the night.
- Track your overall sleep pattern with a two-week sleep journal.
- Do something relaxing before bedtime — try deep breathing or meditation, take a warm bath, or read a book.
- Reduce the noise in the house, or mask it with a steady low noise, such as a fan on slow speed or a radio tuned to static. Use comfortable earplugs if you need them.
- If you can’t fall asleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep within 15 minutes or so, get out of bed and go to another room until you feel sleepy.
To learn more about Sleep Awareness Week visit sleepfoundation.org.