Healthy sleep is sleep which restores and energizes you so you feel wide awake, dynamic and energetic all day long, yet 1 in 3 Americans is not achieving healthy sleep.
Many people assume getting a good night’s sleep is judged by the hours spent asleep. In reality, there are three elements of quality sleep: duration (the length of sleep), continuity (sleeping without fragmentation), and depth (sleep deep enough to be restorative). Without healthy sleep, you’re often facing consequences such as daytime fatigue and sleepiness, irritability and moodiness, and difficulty focusing and concentrating resulting in poor memory. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation has been associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, weakened immune systems and even some cancers. So how can we sleep better? How can our sleep be improved?
MAINTAINING SLEEP DURATION
First, assess the number of hours allotted for sleeping. Required sleep duration is different for each person. Current guidelines recommend at least seven hours of sleep for adults, though many will need 8-9 hours. Longer times are suggested for children and teenagers. Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time throughout all days of the week.
IMPROVING SLEEP CONTINUITY
Observing and researching sleep, we see individuals waking numerous times per night. For example, apnea is when breathing stops for a period of time. When sleep apnea occurs, a person is awakened and experiences sleep loss. In severe cases, a patent is awakened hundreds of times during the night without obtaining quality sleep.
Addressing the cause of poor sleep continuity should be a priority. Other ways to ensure sound sleep are by using comfortable bedding, a comfortable, cool sleep temperature setting and keeping the bedroom well ventilated. Blocking out distracting noises and eliminating as much light as possible will also help the body regulate for sleep.
ENHANCING SLEEP DEPTH
Restorative sleep is really the goal. Sleep disorder sufferers sometimes report sufficient hours spent asleep, but if they are not reaching optimum REM sleep, they do not wake feeling refreshed.
Better sleep is possible by creating healthy sleep habits. If you are still unable to achieve good sleep after following these suggestions, consider visiting a sleep specialist. Healthy sleep is an achievable dream.
WORLD SLEEP SOCIETY’S LIST OF HEALTHY HABITS FOR HEALTHY SLEEP
|Establish regular sleep and wake times.||Do not exceed 30 minutes of daytime sleep or napping.|
|Avoid light from smartphones and tablets near bedtime.||Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion|
four hours before bedtime.
|Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime.||Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime.|
|If you do not fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and return to bed when tired so your body will associate the bedroom environment for sleep only.||Reserve the bedroom environment for sleep and sex only, avoiding work or study.|
|Exercise regularly.||Do not smoke.|