Want to feel better every day? Getting enough ZZZZs at night is perhaps one of the most overlooked ways to improve your physical and emotional resilience.
Adults are recommended to get eight hours every night. School-age kids should get nine to 11 hours and preschool children should be sleeping 10 to 13 hours each night. But most Americans are missing out. According to the Sleep Foundation:
- Around 25% of young children have sleeping problems or experience excessive daytime sleepiness.
- From the ages of 13 to 19, average total sleep per night drops by 40 to 50 minutes.
- 57.8% of middle schoolers and 72.7% of high school students get less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age.
- 35.2% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night.
- Almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day between three and seven days per week.
Sleep is truly restorative. If you hate getting colds, sleep can help boost your immune system. It improves mood and even makes it easier to lose weight. While you snooze, human growth hormone grows your muscle tissue, and another hormone called prolactin works with oxygen to repair minor muscle tears.
Lack of sleep is actually bad for your health. Not only do you miss out on those healing benefits, the Sleep Foundation reports that it actually increases your risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, mood shifts, poor mental health and more.
Those who get enough sleep tend to learn better and complete school and work tasks more efficiently. If you’re ready to improve your physical and emotional resilience, tap into the restorative benefits of sleep by following these tips:
- Routine - Go to bed at a regular time and follow the same routine each night, even on the weekends.
- Stimulants - Don’t drink caffeine after lunchtime. Don’t smoke. If you do, try to smoke less. You can start by setting a goal date to quit and resist the urge to smoke close to bedtime or if you’re awake in the middle of the night.
- Exercise - Get physical activity during the day, up to 40 minutes most days of the week, but avoid working out in the evening.
- Meals - Try not to eat after 7 p.m.; don’t eat large amounts of protein in the evening.
- Electronics - Turn off all screens to avoid stimulating your brain before bedtime. The blue light from devices can also interfere with sleep.
- If you wake up in the night, get up and read but don’t watch TV or use your devices. Return to bed when you feel drowsy.
Think of sleep as an essential part of your life for your body and your brain to operate well. Make it a priority every night and you can enjoy the benefits all day long.
Family Medicine, Primary Care
CHI St. Alexius Health Williston