Do you wake before your alarm each morning? Do you struggle to lift your head from the soft pillow when its time to rise? Do you wear that tired sleepy look until lunch time? Do you constantly talk about how tired you are?
We all live very busy lives, juggling work, family and life in general. Most of us scramble to meet the demands of a busy schedule and try to fit everything into 24hrs by cutting back on some sleep. By staying up an extra hour or two to get the washing, ironing or maybe catch up on some TV at the end of a very long day can sound like a good idea but it eats into your sleeping time.
For me even minimal sleep effects my mood, energy and ability to handle stress. I can cope for one or two nights but any longer than that then I need my bed.
So why is sleep so important?
Sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. YES your weight! No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
When we sleep our bodies rest but our brains stay active. Our brain makes sure our bodies are running in the best condition and while we sleep our brain gets a chance to check us out and get us ready for another busy day ahead. So without enough sleep, we won’t be able to work, study or communicate at our best. As soon as we sleep our bodies start refuelling our energy and our overall health improves.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
Before you read any further ask yourself how many hours sleep do you get? Most nights I am in bed at 10p.m. and asleep by 10.15p.m. until my alarm goes off at 6.45a.m. That is a total of approx. eight and a half hours sleep every Sunday to Thursday night. The weekends tend to be much later especially if I have something on but the mornings allow me to sleep in until 9a.m. getting my 8-9 hours sleep.
I recently read an article that According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. Now you might think six or seven hours of sleep is good but studies show that this is a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.
Just because you feel that six or seven hours of sleep is plenty for you doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.
Everybody requires slightly different sleep but most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Looks like I am getting enough sleep. Children and teenagers need even more and most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep.
Average Sleep Needs by Age
|Age||Hours Needed||May be appropriate|
|Newborn to 3 months old||14 – 17 hrs||11 – 19 hrs|
|4 to 11 months old||12 – 15 hrs||10 – 18 hrs|
|1 to 2 years old||11 – 14 hrs||9 – 16 hrs|
|3 to 5 years old||10 – 13 hrs||8 – 14 hrs|
|6 to 13 years old||9 – 11 hrs||7 – 12 hrs|
|14 to 17 years old||8 – 10 hrs||7 – 11 hrs|
|Young adults (18 to 25 years old)||7 – 9 hrs||6 – 11 hrs|
|Adults (26 to 64 years old)||7 – 9 hrs||6 – 10 hrs|
|Older adults (65+)||7 – 8 hrs||5 – 9 hrs|
|Source: National Sleep Foundation|
How sleep deprivation can make you put on weight!
When I don’t get enough sleep I crave crave sugary foods and look for something that will give me a quick energy boost like chocolate or something fizzy? There’s a good reason for that. Sleep deprivation has a direct link to overeating and weight gain. Hormones in your body regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. However, when you don’t get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite so you want more food than normal, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave.
5 tips to get the sleep that you need!
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up the same time every day and at the weekends or your days off don’t stay in bed all day. Try and get up as early as possible.
Exercise regularly. I am constantly preaching about how good it is to exercise just 30 minutes everyday, but not too close to bedtime.
Eat and drink smartly. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods can all disrupt your sleep and don’t eat late in the day. Try and stop at seven pm.
Control stress management. If you are stressed with work or school etc and you are finding sleep difficult then learn how to handle stress and take time out for yourself (quiet time) for 10 minutes before you go to bed and this might help you sleep better at night.
Cherish your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and keep the phones, laptops out of the bedroom.
So try these few tips for a few weeks. Get as much sleep as you possibly can and hopefully you will feel on top of the world for the Summer months ahead.
Thanks for reading