How Much Sleep Do We Need?
- Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. It is a misconception that older adults need less sleep. They may be less tired at the end of the day due to a lighter activity level during the course of the day but they do need 7-9 hours of sleep.
- School age children and teens need 8-11 hours of sleep to support their growing and developing bodies.
Why We Do Not Sleep Enough
- Stress is a factor stated by many people. Pressure is felt at work and at home. There is no time in some people's daily routines to relax after fulfilling all of the must-dos.
- Caffeine and alcohol rob many people of a good night's sleep. Both alter sleep cycles and mask the feeling of fatigue.
- Blue lights from technology make it difficult to fall asleep quickly. The blue light is the brain's cue to wake up. If your eyes are focused on the blue light in the hours before bedtime, your brain may have a difficult time gearing down to shut down for the night. Studies have also linked that blue light before bed to serious eye problems like Macular Degeneration.
- Aging people often have difficulty sleeping as well as they did when they were younger as the body produces less of the hormone that regulates deep sleep. Older women have a more difficult time than older men due to hormonal changes during menopause.
What happens if We Do NOT Get Enough Sleep?
- The brain does not function properly without enough sleep. You may feel "cloudy" in your thought processes and your reflexes a bit slower.
- Lack of sleep weakens your immune system, increases inflammation, and increases your perception of pain.
- Sleep deprivation can also lead to depression and mood swings.
- Studies have shown that driving exhausted can be as dangerous as driving under the influence. According to WedMD, "Driver fatigue was responsible for an estimated 83,000 motor vehicle accidents between 2005 and 2009 and 803 deaths in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."
- Lack of sleep can lead to obesity and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
How Can We Get More Sleep...Naturally?
- Nutrition can help us get more sleep. We can eat foods that foster relaxation and sleep.
- Practicing relaxation techniques before bed. Some people take a yoga class to unwind after all day while others prefer to do some gentle stretches and meditation on their own, in their bedroom, just before getting into bed. LINK to Yoga for Stress Poses.
- Meditation on your own or through a guided practice is helpful for some people.
- Turning away from blue light technology an hour or two before bed will help the eyes rest and prepare for sleep.
- Regular exercise will help you sleep better (and crave healthier, sleep fostering foods).
- Drink a cup of chamomile or passion flower tea before bed.
- Take a supplement like melatonin.
Read More at Delicious Living Own the night: natural tips to get more sleep