Your body needs time to recover so it can function properly. The most common time for your body to recover is while you are sleeping. The old story of getting a good eight hours of sleep every night holds up, especially when you consider the negative side effects of sleep deprivation.
How Much Should You Sleep?
According to a report conducted by the CDC, one in three Americans suffers from a lack of sleep. The amount of sleep that is necessary for your body to function properly varies depending on age. Sleep Foundation has provided a list of the recommended number of hours people should spend sleeping.
- Newborns and children ages zero to three months should on average sleep from 14 to 17 hours per day.
- Infants ages four to eleven months should sleep between 12 and 15 hours per day.
- Toddlers ages one to two years old should sleep for 11 do 14 hours per day.
- Preschool children ages three to five years old should get between 10 and 13 hours of sleep each day.
- Children age six to thirteen should sleep from 9 to 11 hours every day.
- Teenagers ages 14 to 17 should sleep 8-10 hours a day.
- Young adults ages 18 to 25 need approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Adults ages 26 to 64 should sleep 7 to 9 hours every day.
- Seniors over the age of 65 need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day.
How Sleep Loss Affects Your Health
Lack of sleep can affect your body in multiple ways. When you are sleeping your body uses this time to cleanse itself from harmful toxins that build up during the day. Sleep deprivation can reduce your ability to focus on tasks and process information. You can have a feeling of general fatigue and lack of motivation.
If you are constantly deprived of sleep or have an irregular sleeping schedule you are at risk of developing chronic conditions. Regular sleep deprivation can cause elevated blood pressure, heart problems, strokes, diabetes, and obesity.
How to Set up a Healthy Sleeping Schedule
Our bodies naturally produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that encourages sleep. The production of melatonin decreases with age. This can cause you to become a light sleeper, and wake up more often during the night. But, if you want to feel rested after a good night’s sleep, you will need to change your lifestyle and habits.
Here are a few tips on how to establish a good sleeping schedule:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time. This will form a good sleep rhythm for your body and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Sleep in a dark room and avoid computer screens before bed. Our bodies are naturally programmed to sleep at night. If you leave the lights on in your room, your body will think it’s not time to sleep yet. Falling asleep while watching a movie or TV show on your computer is also not healthy. The light from your computer screen can disrupt melatonin production in your body and cause you to have a low quality of sleep.
- Go to bed if you feel sleepy. if you don’t feel like sleeping, its best to engage in some activities that don’t involve your computer or phone. On the other hand, if you are feeling tired turn off your computer and don’t reach for your phone.
- Track your sleep cycles. You can simply write down information about when and how long you sleep in a journal. But, if this seems like too much work for you, there are many apps available to help you track your sleep cycles. Most of these apps include added features that can play relaxing music or sounds to help you fall asleep. Some apps even have a program of guided meditation exercises that help relax your body and prepare it for a good night’s sleep.
- Try natural sleeping aids. Many foods and drinks contain melatonin or boost its production in the body. The easiest thing you can try is to have a cup of warm chamomile tea before going to bed. You can also try eating fresh kiwi or drinking sour cherry juice to promote melatonin production. These foods are not only good for improving the quality of your sleep, but they also have tons of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy. You can easily find a list of natural sleeping aids by conducting a quick online search. After that, it’s only a matter of testing them out and finding the one that works best for you.