Without a doubt, getting enough sleep to function is one of the most important aspects of health for humans. Unfortunately, many of us suffer from a chronic lack of sleep – 35% of the population state that they get less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. Consequently, we now have a sleep epidemic on our hands. The Center for Disease Control actually called our lack of sleep a public health epidemic, and for good reason.
About 40 percent of adults suffer from insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, when you think about how many people in the world have stress on their minds and hearts almost constantly. When night falls, getting to sleep and allowing the mind to relax comes as quite a challenge for many people out there.
However, despite our increasingly fast-paced society and more demands being put on us than ever before, we can still adopt better sleeping habits and learn to reprogram our minds for sleep. Think about it – as a child, you probably got to sleep without even thinking twice about it; however, as an adult, we have so much going on that we often don’t prioritize sleep like we should. With that being said, adults need a different amount of sleep than children, but just how much should we be getting per night?
We will give more insight into how much sleep you really need below.
How Much Sleep Do You Need According To Your Age?
Obviously, growing children and teens will require more sleep than grown adults; however, with the overuse of technology we see today, many people of all ages suffer from a lack of sleep. The chart below will show you just how much sleep you need according to your age.
As you can see from the data presented by the National Sleep Foundation, both young adults and adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. School age children need 9-11 hours, and teens require 8-10.
Many of us put off sleep in any way we can, staying up late doing work, watching Netflix, texting, or other activities that take away from our ability to fall asleep with ease. Below, we will discuss more about developing better sleeping habits so that you can get the quality sleep your body needs and deserves.
Sleep Habits To Avoid
In order to get proper sleep, you need to know what activities to avoid before bed so that you can fall asleep quickly and easily. We will list some of the most common and destructive habits to avoid, as well as give you some better habits to adopt for a good night’s rest.
1. Getting on your phone or computer before bed
Countless studies have shown that the bright lights emitted from phones and computers can delay sleep for hours past your bedtime. The bright blue lights from tablets, phones and computers basically tell our brains that we need to stay awake, not go to sleep. Think about it: out in nature, the sun would tell our bodies to wake up and get our day started. So, with all these artificial lights today, we stay awake longer and longer because our brains don’t know the difference between natural and unnatural light.
Better habit: Turn off electronics a few hours before bed, and keep them off during the night so they don’t awaken you with notifications.
2. Drinking caffeine or alcohol too late in the day
Caffeine sends a jolt of energy through our bodies that helps us to stay awake and feel refreshed. Drinking a few cups in the morning to help us get our day started won’t really do much harm; however, downing a cup or two close to bedtime will keep you awake well into the night. Alcohol might make you sleepy initially, and many people rely on it to fall asleep. However, the alcohol actually spikes your insulin levels after consumption, which can wake you in the middle of the night.
Better habit: If you do drink caffeine or alcohol, make sure to avoid drinking it five or six hours before bed, as it will stay in the bloodstream for hours after consumption, forcing sleep to evade you once again.
3. Thinking/worrying while trying to fall asleep
We have a problem in this world with overthinking and worrying; so many of us do it without even realizing it! Thinking too much before bed will make you feel stressed, which isn’t conducive to falling asleep. Worrying will only produce more cortisol in your body, and sleep won’t come for quite some time.
Better habit: If you find your mind wandering, try meditating or doing some light yoga before bed. If this still doesn’t help, fall asleep listening to relaxing music or nature sounds.
4. Not having a regular sleep schedule
Finally, our bodies were meant to perform tasks during set hours of the day. Out in nature, we would wake with the sun and fall asleep just after it set each night. Therefore, not going to bed at the same time each night, as well as waking up at different hours each day, can really cause your body to become confused and exhausted.
Better habit: Go to sleep at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning. If you have trouble with this, simply set a bedtime and try to go to bed within 5-10 minutes of this time each night.