Do you find yourself exhausted during the day? Or moody? Or do you have trouble concentrating? You may be surprised to learn these and many other symptoms can all be caused by not getting enough sleep. In today’s busy world it is common for adults to short change their sleep in order to meet the demands of busy work and family life. But this trade off could be affecting you in unexpected ways, damaging everything from your work performance to your health. So how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Sleep needs vary by age, but the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to be fully rested. If, after seven hours of sleep you feel like taking on the world, then that may be all you need. But if you’re still dragging with seven full hours, try increasing your sleep time to eight or even nine hours. If you’re interested in sleep recommendations for every age, check out this Center for Disease Control chart here.
For some of us, even seven hours of sleep seems like an impossible goal. I’ll be honest, ever since having kids I usually average between five and six hours of sleep a night. And it’s frequently disrupted by little ones. Being short on sleep for so long has had a huge effect on my mood, my energy level, and the overall way I feel during the day. It is obvious I need to work towards getting more sleep.
Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep, especially for a prolonged period of time can have a serious impact on your overall health. When you are sleep deprived you are at increased risk for serious health issues like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation also causes you to gain weight. And it makes you more prone to accidents and injuries.
Your brain needs sleep to rest and recuperate so it can function optimally. Without adequate sleep, it becomes harder to concentrate. Your judgment is often impaired. And your memory can also be affected.
For an in-depth look at the health risks caused by lack of sleep, check out this article.
Benefits of Adequate Sleep
In addition to avoiding the health risks associated with lack of adequate sleep, getting enough sleep has some wonderful benefits. When you get enough sleep, your immunity system is stronger and you are better able to avoid illness. Adequate sleep allows for increased productivity and focus both at work and at home.
Being well rested will make you happier. In addition to improving your mood, it can also help you avoid anxiety and depression symptoms.
If you’re looking to get in better shape, getting enough sleep is a great place to start. Not only does more rest help you avoid weight gain, it also helps your body build muscle faster. And when you’re well rested you’re better able to avoid accidents and injuries that might keep you from working out.
Tips for Getting More Sleep
1. Set Up a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning to set up a healthy sleep routine.
2. Set Up a Restful Environment
Try to have your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet when you’re ready to get some sleep.
3. Write Down Your Worries
If anxiety or stress is keeping you from falling asleep, try writing down your worries in a notebook or journal to get them out of your head before you try to sleep.
4. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can prevent restful sleep or even falling asleep at all. Alcohol might make you sleepy, but it causes lower quality, disrupted sleep later in the night.
Physical activity during the day can help you get more restful sleep at night. Although you want to avoid exercise too close to bedtime. Spending time outside in natural light during the day can also be helpful.
If you prefer an evening activity, look into yoga or meditation. It can help with stress and help you get your body ready for rest.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
The truth is that many of us aren’t getting enough sleep. And it’s costing us in terms of our health and happiness. If you are struggling with insomnia here are some other resources that may help. I hope you can join me in using these tips to get more sleep. We’re all tired of being tired. And the benefits of adequate sleep are undeniable.