Sleep is very important for us. We spend one third of our lives sleeping. Many people struggle with either getting enough or knowing how much is enough for them. This becomes more of an issue as we get older, too. Lack of sleep can lead to health problems such as weight gain, heart issues, and Type 2 diabetes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for most adults aged 26 to 64. That recommendation changes to seven to eight hours once we reach 65 and up.
Those are just some general recommendations though. There is no one size fits all approach to sleep. Ask yourself some questions to see if you are having sleep issues. Questions such as, “Are you productive during the day?”, “Do you depend of caffeine to get through the day?”, “Do you feel sleepy while driving?”, etc. If you answer “Yes” to more than a few of them, you might not be getting enough sleep.
Here are some simple tips for getting more sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule as much as possible.
- Exercise more often.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption in the hours before bedtime.
- Avoid computer screens before going to bed.
- Practice some type of relaxing bedtime ritual (reading, meditating, etc.)
If you are having more severe problems with sleep such as prolonged insomnia or difficulty breathing while sleeping, you should consult a physician or sleep professional to determine the cause of your sleep issues.