Are you getting enough sleep? Better yet, are you still trying to adjust to the recent hour difference from Daylight Savings Time? Isn’t it amazing how “losing” just one hour of sleep can seemingly throw off your entire sleeping pattern for days, if not weeks? I myself took about a full three weeks to get my internal clock adjusted to the time change. And…if we’re being completely honest, I still don’t think I’ve fully adapted to the time change, as I’ve realized that I have become more acquainted with my snooze button lately, more than ever before, wishing that I had just one more hour of sleep each morning. Am I the only one who feels like I’m not getting enough sleep? Are there more factors that may be throwing off my sleep than I think?
Well, if you are in the same boat as me, the bad news is, I can’t help us get that hour of sleep back ⌛️😕 However, the good news is… I may know of a few lifestyle practices that may help improve our overall sleep hygiene to allow for better sleep at night.
As we discuss the effects and solutions associated with adequate sleep and the lack thereof, note that the generally recommended amount of sleep per day is between 7 to 9 hours for adults. Teenagers get a pass for sleeping in on weekends, needing up to 10 hours per day; 10 to 13 hours for toddlers; and a whopping 16 to 17 hours per day for new borns through 11 months. In the grand scheme of things, however, understand that each person is different. So, as you try to get more (or less) sleep, pay attention to how you feel when the amount of sleep you get each night varies and do what’s best for you.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Before I offer some lifestyle practices to improve your overall sleep hygiene, let’s take a quick look at some of the effects from the lack of sleep that you may be, or may have, experienced. At the very least, you can use the listed items below as signs to look out for if you have been lacking sleep:
- Weight Gain
- Weakened Immune System
- Low Sex Drive
- At Risk of Serious Health Problems (ie- heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes)
- Decreased Cognitive Abilities (ie- memory issues, trouble thinking/concentrating, and driving!)
Tips For Better Sleep
When trying to improve your sleep hygiene, or in other words, implement lifestyle practices to improve your quality of sleep, it is important to stay committed, consistent, and intentional with the habits and practices that you have control of. Here are a few of those lifestyle practices that you can control, which may also help you achieve a better night’s sleep:
- Create a sleep schedule, where you are sleeping and waking up around the same time each day
- Exercise, even if it is as little as 15 to 30 minutes of walking/jogging/biking
- Eat lightly during the evening; try not to eat within 2-3 hours of going to bed; and avoid foods high in fat, spice, and carbonated sodas before bed
- Avoid caffeine after 2 pm (or completely), and reduce your intake of alcohol
- Turn off your WiFi at night; sleep with your phone on airplane mode or with it in a separate room
- Choose from a list of house plants to add your bedroom
Sleep is an essential part of our lives, and has many benefits to our health when we get the full recommended amount of it. Without adequate amounts of sleep, we see how it can effect our bodies in more ways than one, which can subsequently effect the quality of our other daily activities. Remember that everyone is different, so as you are trying to find that sweet spot of the right amount of sleep, do what’s best for you. Sleep well, my friends! 🌙