Catch Your ZZZ's
A good night’s rest is something many of us take for granted, but healthy sleep habits are central to our overall wellness.
The benefits of sleep
We all know we feel better after a good night’s sleep. This resting period gives your body a chance to work on background processes that are important for a healthy brain. A lack of sleep can make it difficult for our brains to process and remember new information. Some researchers believe that, during sleep, our bodies more efficiently remove waste products from our brain cells.
Sleep has many other wellness benefits. Along with lowering your risk for some serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, adequate sleep can help you:
Avoid getting sick.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Experience lower stress levels.
Focus and make good decisions.
Get along well with others.
Avoid injuries and accidents.
How much sleep do you need?
The amount of sleep you need to stay healthy depends on your age, and you’ll need less as you grow older. For instance, infants 4 months to 12 months old need 12 to 16 hours daily, including naps. Teenagers should get between eight and 10 hours a night. For adults 18 and older, experts recommend at least seven hours per night.
Quality is just as important as quantity. If you get the recommended amount of sleep but don’t feel rested, you might need to take steps to improve your rest or talk to your doctor about whether you could have a sleep disorder.
You probably have daily routines that help you get regular exercise and eat right. Do you think about sleep routines the same way? Experts say it’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Here are some more steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep:
Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, with no TVs, computers or smartphones. Make sure your room is set to a comfortable temperature.
Get exercise during the day. This can help you fall asleep at night.
Don’t eat a large meal or drink caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor.