Sleep is an essential part of our lives – in theory, we should be spending approximately one- third of our day doing it!
Sleeping has plenty of benefits – it’s a mood booster, can help you regulate weight, and if you add that to the fact that we need it for survival, you’ve got a pretty compelling argument.
However, sleep isn’t as simple as closing our eyes and nodding off. The following are five of the most exciting secrets of sleep – from sleep requirements to methods that’ll have you nodding off in minutes.
Sleep Needs Vary
While the exact amount of sleep you need varies, one thing is certain – if you’re not sleeping enough, it can negatively affect your health. People who don’t sleep enough are at a greater risk for obesity, diabetes and other problems.
So how much sleep do you need? According to WebMD, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, though some people need less than six, and others need as many as ten hours to feel fully rested. However, this changes as we age. Children under five need 10-13 hours of sleep per day; schoolchildren need nine to 11, teenagers need eight to 10 hours per day. Sleep schedules change again when we become seniors. According to Vineyard Senior Living, most seniors need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
However, it’s important to note that these are just guidelines. Consider catching a few more hours if you regularly experience any of the following:
- Inability to focus
- Weight gain
- Red, puffy eyes
Your sleep environment affects your sleep quality. So how can you create a bedroom environment that promotes sleep? The experts at The Sleep Foundation have shared the following tips:
- Choose warm, appealing colors: while this varies for everyone, a warm palette is best for helping you fall asleep. We’re not encouraging you to paint the walls – even a well-placed throw rug or a nice painting could be enough to make a difference.
- Reduce clutter: did you know that visual clutter is a barrier to sleep? Reduce the clutter in your bedroom before you go to bed to drift off peacefully.
- Turn out the light: light is one of the most powerful cues for your circadian rhythm. Sleeping in a dark room ensures better sleep. Keep lighting dim with low color and illuminance to nod off quickly and easily.
Temperature has a more significant effect on sleep than we may realize. According to the medical experts at The Cleveland Clinic, keeping the bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit can help facilitate sleep. However, this isn’t an exact science – changes in hormones can mean that we need to sleep in warmer (or cooler) rooms as we age. Thus, it’s important to keep an eye on temperatures and be willing to adjust accordingly. Keeping a reverse osmosis water filter nearby is important since being properly hydrated also contributes to a good night’s sleep.
Fall Asleep Fast
Most people fall asleep between 10-20 minutes of going to bed, but there are tricks to falling asleep faster. The team at Casper share the following tips:
- Try the military method: tense and relax your body at regular intervals to make your body feel at ease.
- Try to stay awake: we often feel anxious when we can’t sleep, which only compounds the issue. Trying to stay awake can alleviate sleep anxiety and is an effective measure.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bed: a warm bath or shower can help you feel relaxed and have you on your way to sleep in no time.
- Create a bedroom routine: a bedtime routine (such as having a cup of caffeine-free tea, reading a book, etc.) can help your body and mind wind down to rest.
- Eliminate blue light: the light from phones and televisions could be disrupting your sleep cycle. Eliminate blue light to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Are you struggling to get to sleep? It could be pathological. According to a recent article from ZzzQuil, sleep phobias aren’t uncommon. Somniphobia is the fear of falling asleep, while oneirophobia is the fear of nightmares or dreams. Clinomania is the irresistible urge to stay in bed all day, while dysania is the word for wanting to stay in bed when you’ve just woken up.
Whether you struggle to sleep or just want some more opportunities to count sheep, these tips are sure to improve your relationship with sleep. Happy snoozing!