The quantity and quality of your sleep play an important role in your overall health. We all know what a difference a good night's sleep can make in energy levels and outlook on life. How do you know when you are getting enough quality sleep? You know when you feel well rested and refreshed.
What happens when you do not get enough sleep?
If you are like most people, life can make demands on you that reduce your time to sleep. You can even lose sleep if you are busy with a good book at bedtime. But losing sleep can affect how well the next day goes. It can make you less happy, less productive and more likely to get involved in a car accident. In the long run, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic sleep deprivation can affect your mental health, shorten your life expectancy and increase your risk of:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) [1
- Type 2-diabetes
How much sleep do people need?
According to the CDC, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Teenagers need more – eight to 10 hours a day – and younger children need even more sleep. Preschool children need up to 13 hours, while school-age children need between nine and 12 hours of sleep per night. Infants who are four to 12 months old probably sleep more than half of each 24-hour period – at least 12 and up to 16 hours.
How important is sleep quality?
The quality of sleep you get is as important as the amount. Your sleep quality may be poor if you experience waking up repeatedly during the night, snoring or craving air, or if you still feel tired or lack energy after sleeping long enough to feel well rested. Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms – you may have a sleep disorder. If you need health insurance, our friendly agent can help you find the right plan.
What can you do to improve your sleep?
If you want to improve your sleep quality and quantity, cultivate the following good sleep habits:
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals before bedtime.
- Get daily exercise. Physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night.
- Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, quit.
- Clean your bedroom with electronic devices, including computers, televisions, and cell phones.
- Make sure that the room where you sleep is quiet, dark and at a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Losing weight can also improve your sleep quality. In a study published by John Hopkins Medicine, researchers found that weight loss, especially the abdomen, improves the quality of sleep in people who are overweight or obese.
It may take a little reorganization and self-discipline to ensure you get enough sleep, but it will be worth it. Getting a good night's sleep regularly can make all the difference in your overall health and quality of life.