Nearly everyone struggles with sleep at some point in their life. Whether you’re raising youngsters, hitting your prime or entering your golden years, there are things you can do to improve your sleep. Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones enjoy better slumber.
What could go wrong?
As many as a third of all adults are trying to perform on too little sleep. When an adult goes with insufficient sleep, Healthline warns you are at risk for several repercussions. Your ability to make good decisions drops, your creativity falls, and you’re more apt to be in a car accident or die young. Regularly living without enough sleep leaves you at higher risk for several chronic health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. You tend to be more negative, make more unethical decisions at work, and are less productive.
What about kids?
Adults aren’t the only ones who suffer when they go without enough sleep. Some studies indicate much of the moodiness and bad attitude we associate with teens can be attributed to missed sleep or low sleep quality. If you’re thinking that can’t be correct because so many teens have a tendency to be grumpy, note that researchers estimate as many as two-thirds of teenagers are not getting enough sleep. Teens are more apt to experience car accidents or other accidents causing injuries due to sleep deprivation, and the ability to control their behaviors drops with lack of sleep. Your younger children aren’t exempt from issues associated with sleep deprivation, either. Without sufficient sleep, children’s growth, development, and emotional wellness can suffer.
How much is enough?
When evaluating whether or not you’re getting enough sleep, consider quality of sleep as well as quantity. With good-quality, restful sleep, you feel alert throughout the day, not groggy. You can function well without any stimulants such as caffeine, and you don’t struggle to stay awake when you drive or are at work. If you experience symptoms indicating you aren’t getting sufficient, good-quality sleep, look for ways to improve it. These general guidelines indicate how much sleep average individuals need in a 25-hour period:
- Average adults: 7 to 9 hours.
- Adults over the age of 65: 7 to 8 hours.
- Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours.
- School-age kids: 9 to 11 hours.
- Infants and toddlers: 11 to 15 hours.
- Newborns: 14 to 17 hours.
Sufficient sleep is necessary for good mental and physical health. If you or a family member isn’t getting enough sleep, here are some ideas for what you can do about it:
Improve your environment.
A cozy sleeping environment is a key to good, restful sleep. Using soft lights before bedtime can help, and a dark room for sleep can make all the difference. Try switching to room-darkening curtains or shades, add a cozy comforter, and change up linens and pillows until you find what works best for your sleeping style.
Also, if it’s been a long time since you’ve purchased a mattress, it might be time to make that type of investment. When you’re sleeping on an old, worn-out, poorly sized mattress, your level of comfort tends to decrease. If your current mattress has you feeling cramped, it may be time for an upgrade in size. A queen mattress is the most popular mattress size with many options to choose from. When selecting a mattress, give careful consideration to your sleeping style and preferred firmness level. For example, both Leesa and Nectar mattresses can accommodate a variety of sleeping styles.
Establish a routine.
Do you put your kids to bed at the same time every night and awaken them at the same time every morning? Do you have an established bedtime and wake-up time for yourself? Setting a schedule should be a priority, as it will help your body get into a routine for sleeping. If it’s a habit of yours, some experts recommend avoiding the snooze button in the morning. Having a ritual of some sort before turning in can help, too, such as brushing your teeth, washing your face with soap in a soothing scent, and lounging with a good book. Psychology Today suggests helping your smaller kids with the same sort of routine, and include storytime or singing a lullaby.
You can improve the quality of your family members’ sleep habits with a few simple changes. Check your environment and routines, and look for ways to improve. With better sleep comes better health and a better quality of life.