“Am I getting enough sleep?” is a common but important question that we should all ask ourselves from time to time.
A good night’s sleep is essential to feeling refreshed and energized the next day. Without sufficient rest, we become drowsy, irritable, and could also feel unhealthy as a result.
Next week is the 25th anniversary of National Sleep Awareness Week. The National Sleep Foundation started the week-long recognition in 1998 to raise awareness about the relationship between sleep and overall health.
Although people require less sleep with age, sleep plays a critical role in general functioning during all phases. Babies need the most sleep, 12 to 16 hours a day, to support the rapid growth and development that occurs in this period. For young children, recommended sleep is between nine to 12 hours, and for teenagers, between eight and 10 hours. By the time you reach adulthood, it’s recommended you sleep between seven and nine hours per every 24-hour cycle.
Just because you finish growing by the time you reach adulthood; doesn’t mean you should willingly sacrifice your sleep. Sleeping at least seven hours provides your body and mind with the energy to have a productive, healthy, and happy day. Sleep deprivation, which occurs if you don’t get enough sleep, can affect your day-to-day life and activity performance, as well as your mental state. Over prolonged periods, it can also lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and depression.
If you aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep, you should investigate the reasons why. Are you drinking caffeinated beverages at night—or often throughout the day? Do you lay in bed, scrolling on your phone, or watch TV before bedtime? Do you have any existing health issues? Do you have a history of unstable sleeping patterns? Are you undergoing more stress than usual? Habits like drinking coffee, sofa, or caffeinated tea in the evening, or looking at the blue light emitted from your phone before bed, can easily be rectified. Addressing health issues like insomnia can require a bit more research and should be discussed with your health-care provider.
Sleep is necessary for us to function throughout the day—and simply to have a good day, too. It lets us grow and develop when we are younger and keeps us feeling recharged throughout life. The National Sleep Foundation has conducted decorates of research about sleep and it’s certainly worth peeking at their topics and recommendations.
For more information on National Sleep Awareness Week, click here.
Article written by William Graves.