How Much Sleep Do You Need and How To Improve It
Sleeping is important and it is something we do every day. In fact, we spend a good portion of our lives sleeping. So how much sleep should we be getting? The short answer - it depends. There are general guidelines based on age, but, there are always exceptions to the norm. Sleep needs change as we age, and as many as 1 in 3 adults don't get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, which is considered the low end of the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night for adults. In fact, poor sleep has been associated with a variety of health problems and concerns including being at higher risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia, and some mental health conditions.
Here are the general sleep recommendations, per day, based on age:
4-12 months old: 12 to 16 hours, including naps
Age 1-3 years: 11 to 14 hours, including naps
Age 3-5: 10 to 13 hours, including naps
Age 6-12: 9 to 12 hours
Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours
Adults: 7 to 9 hours
Despite one's best efforts, getting the proper amount of sleep each night can be a struggle. Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep:
Consistency: Having a consistent bedtime at night, and wake time in the morning, is critical for developing good sleep habits. In addition, make sure your room is dark, cool, and comfortable to further help your sleep quality.
Say No to Electronics: Limiting exposure to light, including the light from electronics, can help you sleep better. It's important to do this as early as possible, as light can impact your sleep-wake cycle.
Be Mindful: Trying mindfulness techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises have been shown to improve sleep.
Eat Well and Exercise: Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for overall health, including sleep. In addition, having a regular exercise routine can help reduce stress and can support better sleep.