BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP…
Prying one eye open, you glare at your phone. How could it be morning already? Rolling out of bed, feeling exhausted, you drag yourself to the nearest coffee maker or hop in the shower to start your day, all while regretting your decision to stay up late watching Netflix’s latest binge-worthy series.
We’ve all been there to one extent or another, feeling sleep deprived and having to charge on to conquer the day ahead.
How Much Sleep Do People Need?
Lack of sleep is a real thing. Many of us, roughly a third of Americans, don’t get enough sleep. But what’s the answer to that the age-old question: How much sleep do you need each night?
If you answered that your body needs at least 7 hours of sleep, you’re correct! The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults 18-64.
So, now is a good time to assess whether you get enough sleep, and if not, do something about it!
Can you imagine how amazing it would feel to wake up every morning, refreshed, clear-minded, mentally recharged, and properly rested?
Why Does Sleep Matter?
You may be asking why sleep is so significant. Sleep is a basic human need, just like food to eat, water to drink, or air to breathe.
Sleep helps your body by allowing the brain to function effectively. Getting the optimal amount of quality sleep helps protect your mental and physical health.
As adults, when we think about overall wellness, we typically prioritize nutrition and fitness while forgetting about sleep. We also need to make sleep a priority to ensure we properly care for our bodies to reduce health risks and medical disorders.
Beyond having that dreaded foggy feeling we get from being sleep deprived or struggling to keep your eyes open when someone drones on and on during a meeting, inadequate sleep can create serious health risks.
Mood swings, impaired judgment and the inability to learn or retain information are some of the short-term effects you may experience when you’re sleep-deprived.
I have asked myself on multiple occasions, “how much sleep do I need?” When I had a newborn, I even pondered how much sleep I’d need to stay alive.
Without enough sleep, your brain can’t process simple information. During one sleep-deprived moment, while scheduling one of what seems like 100 appointments with the pediatrician, I struggled to recall my son’s birth date. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the date. Living without enough sleep for two years left me momentarily unable to pull that detail from my memory.
Has something like that happened to you? The next time you struggle to recall a significant piece of information, think about how much sleep you got the night before.
Our minds are powerful, but they need to sleep to run efficiently. Not to mention, getting adequate sleep helps you be able to rattle off your kiddo’s birthday and other important information in full confidence.
Harvard Medical School recognizes sleep deprivation in adults can lead to medical disorders like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
We want to add years to our lives, not take time away, right? We really can’t “sleep when we are dead,” despite what dad teased while rousting us from bed after we stayed up too late when we were children.
But the good news is it’s not too late to start taking care of your body by developing healthy sleep habits.
Create a Healthy Sleep Routine
Just like you would set time aside to prepare and eat a healthy meal, study for an exam in school, or schedule and complete a workout, you can take a similar approach to ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep daily.
One tip I recommend to my LadyBoss® Personal Results Coaching clients is to set an alarm to help them add a new practice into their routine. Yes, I know you wake up to an alarm, but I also recommend setting a bedtime or pre-sleep alarm.
I know that may sound crazy, but it gives you an opportunity to take time to develop a healthy bedtime routine so you can set yourself up for successful quality sleep.
Envision making this small change and being able to reap the benefits of jumping out of bed to start your day on the right foot.
Take control. Give it a chance.
After all, what do you have to lose? Probably not more sleep, right? Give yourself the gift of proper rest!
Start by creating a wind-down zone 30 minutes before bed. Turn off your screens and stop scrolling Facebook and Instagram while lying in bed.
Consider adding sleep meditation into your evening routine instead. This has made a huge positive impact on my personal sleep practices. Many of my clients also have experienced success by integrating meditation into their pre-sleep routine.
Not only do they improve their sleep quality, but they also fuel their minds with positive affirmations. If you find your mind begins to race at night, meditation before bed may be a good option to help clear your mind and give you a positive focus as you drift off to a peaceful wonderland of high-quality sleep!
Use Healthy Sleep Tips
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has some great tips to help both adults and families develop healthy sleeping habits, which helps reduce the long- and short-term risks of sleep deprivation.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
- Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Set a nightly bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- Get out of bed if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes.
- Establish a relaxing nightly bedtime. Consider drinking a glass of golden milk or taking an all-natural sleep supplement like LadyBoss® REST.
- Make your bedroom sleep-ready, quiet, and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature to help you fall and stay asleep.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evening.
- Turn off electronic devices at least a half-hour before bedtime.
- Avoid eating a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
Limit Social Media Time
I also want to focus on those idle hours we have when we could be sleeping. Yes, I’m going there.
Let’s talk about those excessive hours spent on social media. I know well how you can lose hours and hours to those electronic devices.
To help control that, I’m now using my phone’s “screen time” monitor. It tracks how much time I spend on each app and lets me set limits for how much time I give them.
I’ll never get those hours back, but now I can repurpose some of that time to getting a better night’s sleep. Believe me, being able to spring out of bed and have a more productive day has been life-changing!
Although sleep may not top society’s priority list, carving out at least 7 hours per day for sleep still leaves you 17 hours to effectively and wakefully accomplish all you set out to do.
Get enough sleep. Your mind and body will thank you.