How much Sleep do we really Need?

Jan 14, 2015

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. Thus, to determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

What You Can Do To Improve Your Sleep

To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep. Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one.

1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule including weekends.
Our bodies need a balance between day and night; this 24 hour cycle is called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm influences when and how long we sleep and the quality of our sleep. The more stable your circadian rhythm, the better you’ll sleep.

2. Create a sleep-conducive environment.
Make sure your bedroom is temperature-regulated, dark, quiet, and, of course, comfortable. Also make sure your sleeping environment is free of allergens. This may require you to have your pet sleep elsewhere.

3. Use your bedroom only for sleep.
If you use your bedroom for other purposes, such as an office or entertainment room, you can associate the bed with those other activities and it often becomes difficult to fall asleep.

4. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime.
Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants and may make it more difficult to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, soft beverages, and chocolate remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours and can affect some for even longer periods of time. While alcohol’s sedative nature may help you fall asleep, it often causes nighttime awakenings that will result in a disrupted night’s sleep.  Also, alcohol can prevent you from getting efficient REM sleep.

5. Be smart about napping.
A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. Long naps can also leave people feeling groggy or disoriented; this is defined as sleep inertia.

Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need. If you require new blinds for you bedroom we have many products which help regulate heat and light.