We all love to sleep. Most often, no matter what time the alarm goes off in the morning, we aren’t ready to get up because we just love sleep. But sometimes we view sleep through a negative lens too. If we sleep too much, we think we are being lazy and need to get up to get things accomplished. Yet we still can’t help but love sleep.
For all you sleep lovers out there who wish you could have more, there is good news. According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation done in 2018, most young adults (ages 18-25), and adults (ages 26-64) need on average seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The bad news though is roughly 50% of people report less than seven hours of sleep per night. If we love sleep and are often tired because of a lack of sleep, why don’t we sleep more?
Why don’t Americans sleep more?
One big reason why Americans don’t get more sleep is because of having poor quality beds and or pillows. Believe it or not, your sleeping equipment makes a drastic difference in how you sleep. Choosing a proper mattress and bed base can make a world of difference. Knowing which pillow supports your head and neck affects sleep too.
However, it’s more than just the bed and pillow you sleep on. Selfhelpdaily.com also reports that using digital screens with SWL illumination one hour or less before bedtime could drastically hurt your sleep quality and quantity. As tempting as it is to watch YouTube in bed, browse Facebook and Instagram, or beat the next level on Candy Crush, resist the urge and put the phone or tablet away.
Many sleep researchers and scientists suggest keeping all electronic devices out of your bedroom for just such a reason. They suggest having a charging station outside of the bedrooms for all devices to help ensure you don’t get on them during the night. If you are one of those people who use your phone for an alarm clock, you can find one for as little as five dollars online to solve your problem.
What should I do to help improve my sleep?
Believe it or not, sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is when your body does the majority of its healing and growth. If you don’t sleep, your body can’t repair itself. If you are a fitness fanatic, or you just want to maintain your health, sleep must be included in your regiment for overall well-being.
The first thing you need to do is make sleep a priority. We all have busy lives; we have chores that need doing and things that need to be taken care of. But if we aren’t well-rested and alert, we won’t be as effective and efficient as we could be. So prioritize your healing time.
The National Sleep Foundation also suggests taking some time and experimenting with amounts of sleep. Pay attention to your mood, your energy, and how you feel overall with each amount of sleep time until you find what works for you. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the exact time for each age group since we are all different. So you have to do a little experimentation on your own to find out what’s right for you.
Here is a small list of other things you may want to consider to help you prioritize your sleep.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends
- Have a bedtime ritual that helps prepare your body for sleep
- Exercise every day, even as late as three to four hours before bedtime
- Make your bedroom a “sleep temple.” Design your room for sleep with the proper bed, dark curtains, and make it distraction-free
- Avoid acidic and spicy foods, caffeine, sugary drinks, and even alcohol and nicotine two to three hours before bedtime
- As we’ve already stated (but it’s a hard one for some of us to do), turn off your electronics
Sleeping your way to better health
Try out some of the suggestions above if you find yourself struggling with feeling sleepy and lethargic all the time. If you continue to struggle to get better sleep and feel better throughout the day, consult your doctor to help you get to where you need to be. No matter the case, prioritize your sleep. Make sure you have an emphasis on letting your body rest and recover. There is no way to better improve your health. If you’re looking to become the next great Olympian, or if you’re just trying to live a healthier lifestyle, don’t diminish the importance of a good night’s rest. Sleep your way to better health.