Don’t smoke, don’t be obese and get exercise: these are the healthy living mantras we live by. But what about sleep? All too often, sleep is a lost cousin of healthy living; something that for all too many of us falls by the wayside, thanks to our stressful, hyperactive lifestyles.
Not getting enough sleep, however, ultimately leaves us feeling exhausted, no matter how much coffee we drink during the day. Here’s some of the latest thinking on sleep.
What’s The Magic Number?
You’ve heard it time and time again that you need about 8 hours of sleep to be at your best. But is that always true? Actually, the amount of sleep that you need varies dramatically based on your age. Newborns need a whopping 14 to 17 hours of sleep every day. Teenagers need between 8 and 10 hours to perform optimally.
The crucial number when it comes to sleep is actually 7. Adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night live longer and are healthier than those who get less, according to http://www.nytimes.com/. The National Sleep Foundation has more information on how many hours sleep you should be getting at your particular age.
Keep A Sleep Diary
Most people think that they know how long they spend asleep, just as most people believe that they know how many calories they are eating. The problem with guesswork like this, however, is that more often than not, it’s wrong. Most people massively underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they sleep.
A sleep diary helps you to see just how much you sleep compared to how much you think you sleep. Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to do this by hand. There are sleep trackers that will accurately track your sleep at night, giving you an objective measure of how much shut-eye you’re actually getting.
A sleep diary is also an excellent opportunity to reflect on how comfortable you felt and whether your mattress is up to scratch. As bestmattress-brand.org points out, the type of mattress you choose can affect the quality of your sleep, and the quality of your sleep can have significant knock-on effects for your health in the long term.
Say Goodbye To Your Alarm Clock
What did humans do before they had alarm clocks? Well, most people got out of bed when it got light. In fact, this is what our bodies have been designed to do through eons of evolution. Modern life, however, runs counter to this. Our alarms clocks don’t care about our circadian rhythm; instead, they are there to help us lead more regimented lives and not be late for work.
But there’s a problem with alarm clocks: they don’t respect our natural sleep patterns. As we sleep, our bodies go through cycles, from deeper sleep to lighter sleep and then back to deeper sleep. If your alarm wakes you up while you’re in a deep sleep part of the cycle, you’ll wake up feeling groggy, no matter how much sleep you’ve actually had. If you’ve got the flexibility in your work, say goodbye to your alarm clock for a week or two and see if it has any effect.