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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