What Is a Good Night's Sleep?


Man Asleep at Work

Unlike what many people assume, sleep is a necessity not a luxury. However, it’s more than just about the number of hours that you are not awake that helps you recuperate the next day. If you have trouble sleeping, you might be able to use certain techniques to help you stay asleep through the night.

Today’s lifestyle of drinking at least a few cups of coffee throughout the day and having heavy workloads can cut into sleep time. Moreover, the use of electronic devices can affect the body’s rhythm that normally responds to darkness and light, seasons and times, and sleep-wake patterns. Using too many stimulants for boosting energy or eating too late at night can also affect your ability to sleep through the night. Worry, chronic pain, heart problems or sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and other health issues can also disrupt your sleep. Of course, it can be a challenge as new parents to also stay asleep through the night.

Quantity vs. Quality

Most people believed that adult humans only need about six hours of sleep per night. However, University of California reports suggest that six hours is not enough for about 97 percent of human adults. For people ages 18-64, the recommended sleep range as set by the National Sleep Foundation is between 7-9 hours. For people more than 64 years old, the recommended amount of sleep needed is 7-8 hours per night.

Amount of time sleeping per night is only one factor, though. You also increase your chance of feeling rested the next day if you are able to make it through all three stages of non-REM sleep into a deeper rest.

How to Improve Ability to Sleep

The best way to improve your ability to sleep is to go to bed at the same time every day. This will increase your chance of falling asleep and waking at the same times. You also are advised to make sure you eat just enough to be full but do not have supper too close to bedtime. Do not drink caffeine before bed, either.

Other ideas would be to play relaxing music, pull down the shades, and go to bed between 30-60 minutes before you plan to sleep. In addition, you might want to try to sleep during the times your newborn baby takes a nap or hire a babysitter in order to give you time to sleep if possible.

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MRC of Vancouver started me going in my attempt to loose 30 years of weight gain!! I have been using their program for about 18 months and have actually lost 30 pounds. I have changed the way I eat. I've learned what foods are best for ME. By analyzing my DNA and hormones, they helped me learn to eat what was right for me. I have "tweeked" my purchases and preparation of food to make eating healthy and still fun for me. I eat lots of veggies and salads and include a healthy diet of protein. These are very satisfying. Do I "cheat" now and then? Yes, but I don't like how I feel after eating sugar and lots of carbs so I return to my good foods quickly and continue to see my weight drop. I walk my little dog four times a day and have a part-time job that allows me a lot of movement. I feel so healthy and wonderful. It's easy to continue to eat and live a more healthy lifestyle! When I confessed about eating the wrong "foods", the gals simply encouraged me and gave me fresh ideas to satisfy my taste buds. I always felt I could be honest during my consultations with no fear of being lectured! I plan to continue until I reach my desired weight. I expect to reach my goal by 2017. After I reach my weight goal, I plan to remain in good health with my new found healthy way of eating the calories I need to maintain my proper weight. My Dr. is very pleased at my progress. She wondered how I have lost 30 pounds.

— Diane P. Heesch Nims-Smith

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