Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sleepy Time

How many of you got your recommended amount of sleep last night or any night so far this week? Well guess what ladies and gentlemen, many Americans don't get their recommended amount of sleep each night and what's even more shocking is that there is no magic number of hours that I can tell you to sleep each night. In fact, the amount of sleep needed by each individual varies depending on their age and development and the amount of stress, sickness, and even how much sleep they've missed out on recently. 

Sleep is a time for our body to re cooperate from the day and is essential to good health as well as emotional and mental well being. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to not only develop chronic health and psychiatric problems but they are also more likely to seek out medical for treatment of these conditions. Such chronic conditions include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression among many others. Click here to read more from the NSF In addition, the NSF reports that sleep deprivation can lead to being tired and cranky, negative effects on cognition and learning, and can even put you at risk on the road or at work due to decreased alertness. 

So how do you know if you're at risk? Read through the options below and if you've answered yes to one or more, you should make an appointment to talk to your doctor about it.

  1. Do you snore loudly?
  2. Has you or someone close to you noticed that you stop breathing or gasp for breath during sleep?
  3. Do you have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep 3 or more nights a week? 
  4. Do you notice many interruptions to your sleep at night? (Due to thirst, night time heartburn or urination, bad dreams, pain or discomfort, or noise/light/tempurature changes)
  5. Do you feel unpleasant feeling or the urge to move in your legs at night?

So let's talk about sleep recommendations. 
*Now remember I mentioned above that there is no magic number of hours you should sleep every night and you may need more or less sleep depending on age, development, stress levels, etc

  • 0-2 months need 12-18 hours
  • 3-11 months need 14-15 hours
  • 1-3 years need 12-14 hours
  • 3 -5 years need 11-13 hours
  • 5-10 years need 10-11 hours
Adolescents (10-17 years) need 8.5 to 9.5 hours
Adults need 7-9 hours
*The above information was provided by the National Sleep Foundation

Here's some extra sleepy tips from the NSF to help you maintain a happy and healthy sleeping habit
Click here for more tips
  • Establish a regular bed and wake time
  • Avoid nicotine altogether and avoid caffeine close to bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Exercise regularly (but complete the workout at least 3 hours before bedtime)
  • Establish a consistent relaxing “wind-down” bedtime routine
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable
  • Discuss the appropriate way to take any sleep aid with a healthcare professional
Here's some more tips from the Centers for Disease Control. Click here for more info.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning.
  • Sleep in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Make your bed 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 physical activity within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.