First, let’s answer the ever looming question. How much sleep do we really need? In general most people should do there best to get 8 hours of restful sleep. However, if you are a SUPER health person and you exercise regularly, and give your mind some breaks throughout the day and you sleep like a rock every night, then perhaps you could get away with 6 hours per night.
If on the other hand, you endure plenty of stress though out your day and or are doing a lot of physical activity all day, then it’s likely that your body will require a full 8 hours and maybe more.
As we get older, we often find that there is more and more that keeps us from consistently getting a great, solid night’s sleep. If you’ve found that you’re having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, try following some of these tips designed to improve your slumber.
- Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bed. Caffeine can stay in your body up to 6-8 hours, and contrary to popular belief, alcohol can keep you in a light, easily interrupted sleep instead of helping you achieve that blissful rested feeling you get after a good 8 or 9 hours.
- Make your bedroom a place you associate only with rest. The idea here is to help your mind automatically associate the bedroom as a place for sleep, not working on your laptop, talking on the phone or writing letters, or any other activity you could be doing somewhere other than the bedroom. It will help you get to sleep faster if your mind thinks of your bedroom solely as a place for rest.
- Exercise. Cardiovascular activity has been shown in studies to improve the quality of sleep and also reduces the amount of time it takes a person to fall asleep. However, you should keep your exercise time limited to the morning or afternoon, not right before bed. Give your body some time to get into “relax” mode.
- Speaking of relaxing, take a nice hot bath or shower right before you decide to hit the hay. This will help your stresses to take a backseat to the relaxing atmosphere and help you get in a good sleep mindset.
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Yes, this includes weekends. Your body is used to rituals, so help it get in a habit of getting sleepy at the same time each night. Try not to take naps during the day, either. This can completely throw off your body’s bedtime rhythm.
Use sleeping pills and other aids as your absolute last option. You don’t want to become reliant on a medication for sleep. Hopefully, you can follow these tips to achieve a healthy 8 hours of sleep (or thereabout) per night. Remember, everyone differs in their body’s need for sufficient sleep – some people require as little as 4 or 5 hours a night, some as many as 10 or more. Find what’s right for your body, and start on a routine to achieve that number each night. Good luck, and sweet dreams!!