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How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

sleepless nightIf you’ve ever experienced a restless (or worse yet, sleepless) night, you know – not getting enough sleep can have a massive impact on the quality of your day as well as your overall health and well-being. 

The National Sleep Foundation has completed numerous studies and created a chart showing how much sleep is ideal for virtually every age group. Notably, adults between 26 and 64 years old should get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Yet, in 2013 The Sleep Council found that nearly 1/3rd of British adults only get 5-6 hours of sleep. What’s more, 22% of respondents reported that their sleep quality is poor. Clearly, many of us are not getting the rest and recharging time we need. 

Sometimes, especially for those with chronic sleep issues, it can feel like there are no real solutions. Whether you’re too busy and can’t get enough sleep or if you have enough time, but you’re just not able to get a deep and restful sleep, you’re not alone and there are things you can do right now to improve your sleep as early as tonight. 

To begin addressing your sleep problems, it’s important to determine if the root of your dilemma is a lack of sleep (not enough hours) or a poor quality of sleep (not truly resting). 

If you’re someone who struggles to get enough sleep creating a relaxing bedroom oasis and implementing a bedtime routine might be just enough change to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

To fall asleep faster & stay asleep longer:

  •   Declutter your bedroom area
  • Swap out bright, cool lighting for softer, warmer lighting
  • Eliminate excess pillows and bedding you don’t need for sleep
  • Turn off or put away electronics at least 30 minutes prior to sleep
  • Dab 3-5 drops of a calming essential oil like lavender in your palm, cover your nose with your hands and inhale deeply three times just before closing your eyes
  • Force yourself out of bed at the first alarm (don’t hit snooze)

If you're someone who struggles to sleep through the night or get the precious REM sleep that allows you to recharge, you have a bit more work to do and must be extra mindful.  

To improve your quality of sleep, implement everything in the list above as well as:

  •  Check your mattress – is it time for a new one, or at least a topper?
  • Check your bedding – is it seasonally appropriate? Lighter covers in the warm months and heavy covers in the chilly months can help optimize your body temperature
  • Exercise regularly during the day (not within a few hours of bedtime)
  • Set a sleep schedule and stick to it (go to bed at the same time every night)
  • Create a bedtime ritual (read for 30 minutes, meditate, take a bath or shower)
  • Avoid drinking or eating at least an hour before bed

    June 29, 2016 by Whitney Young
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