An important, often underrated aspect of good health, is getting enough sleep. Your mood and your performance during the day depends a lot on how good your sleep was the previous night.
The onset of many modern illnesses such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes are meanwhile also attributed to lack of sleep. So how much sleep is really enough?
Generally school-aged children require about ten hours of sleep while the average adult requires between 7-8 hours. Going to be early however, doesn’t necessarily mean that your sleep is good.
Insomnia or the inability to fall asleep is especially prevalent among people with highly stressed jobs. Apnea, a momentary suspension of breathing, is also widespread.
These are some of the questions you might ask if you have the feeling that you are not sleeping enough:
– Are you having problems falling asleep?
– How many hours are you actually sleeping?
– How often do you have problems during the day staying awake?
If you are feeling drowsy after a midday lunch you can easily rejuvenate yourself by taking a short ten minute catnap. But in most cases we are expected to burn our candles on both ends, giving our bodies too little time to recuperate. You can improve your sleep by doing the following:
- Avoiding heavy meals, drinks and stimulants such as coffee in the evenings.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time.
- Take a catnap during the day to catch up for last sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is dark with television and computer screens turned off
- If you wake up worrying about something, write it down on paper and postpone it to the next day.
- Breathing exercises such as exhaling twice as much as inhaling will help you relax
- Progressive muscle relaxation is also a method that could be useful
If you are one of those few people who sleep ten hours and more a day, then you might have a problem too. A study by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) in the US links too much sleep with chronic diseases in adults aged 45 years and older.
Published in early October this year, the study involved more than 54,000 participants in 14 states in the US. Both short and long sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and anxiety, compared to optimal sleepers who got seven to nine hours of shut-eye on average.