More sleep, Please: How can I improve my night time rest

September 3, 2018

Have you ever had a really good night sleep and woke up the next morning feeling that you could conquer the world, having so much energy and clarity of mind?  Well, this would be because adequate sleep can have a positive effect in physical and mental health.  Most of us would agree that a good night sleep makes us feel better. We feel more alert, more energetic, happier and better able to function.  Sleep can help us improve our attention ability and therefore we can learn more efficiently.  In addition, sleep has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

According to studies, not getting enough sleep can really make a negative impact in our health.  Lack of sleep has been linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and depression.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work.  It also hinders your overall productivity, it affects your concentration and your ability to focus.

How much sleep is needed depends on your age. Sleep is important for both children and adults.  According to the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, here are the recommended hours of sleep per day:

  • Newborn (0-3 months):  14-17 hours
  • Infant (4-12 months):  12-16 hours
  • Toddler (1-2 years):  11-14 hours
  • Preschool (3-5 years):  10-13 hours
  • Teen (13-18 years):  8-10 hours
  • Adults (18 years and up) : 7 or more hours

So, if sleep is so important for you and your family, how can you make it better and make sure that you are having a good night time rest? I will give you some practical advice to improve your sleep hygiene and ensure that everyone is getting the rest they need. You can implement these and help set yourself and your little ones for a better morning.

Take note, please:

1. Avoid Caffeine:

Stimulants like coffee, sodas, tea, and chocolate after 2 pm can disrupt your sleep by keeping you stimulated and making it difficult to initiate sleep.

2.  Exercise:

Physical activity during the daytime can improve night time sleep quality.  Just avoid rigorous exercise close to your bedtime.  This may stimulate your endorphins and make it harder to fall asleep.

3.  Foods:

Some foods can slow down your digestion, cause gas and bloating, as well as irritate your stomach. Consider avoiding spicy foods, fried and fatty foods, citric fruits and carbonated drinks before bedtime.

4.  Routines:

Establish a bedtime routine. Plan to go to bed at the same time every night. Your routine should include a relaxing activity prior to bedtime like a warm bath or shower, reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditation, prayer, or quiet time.

5.  Environment:

Make sure that your mattress and pillow are comfortable. Temperature should be cool for comfortable sleep.  Your bedroom should be dark, turn off the bright lights.  Consider using dark curtains, eye shades, white noise machines, fans, a humidifier or other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.

6.  Electronics:

Avoid use of electronics at least 30 min to an hour before bedtime. Bright light from cell phones, tablets and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep.

I hope you can find these recommendations helpful and that you can enjoy a better night sleep. remember that getting more sleep can improve your overall quality of life. Therefore, let us all have more sleep, please!

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