How much sleep should we get each night?
A Sesame Street song expressed an important fact, “Everybody sleeps, every night we close our eyes, until the morning creeps.” To stay healthy and maintain well-being, we need ample sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to diseases of the heart and mind like obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends seven (7) hours of sleep or more each night, on a regular basis. Sleeping less than 7 hours may lower energy to do tasks, make us prone to commit errors and increases risk of accidents.
What time do we wake up? To sleep 7 hours or more on a regular basis, first we need to choose our wake time. The wake time will dictate the bedtime. For example, my waking time is 6:00 AM so I have enough time to prepare going to work. My bedtime should be before 11 PM. How about you, what time do you need to wake up and what should be your bedtime?
Mindful of bedtime. The following guides can help us to be intentional in sleeping on time: turn off mobile phones and other electronic gadgets at least 30 minutes before bedtime, warm shower or bath is beneficial, reading a book or writing a journal are good routines to help put the body to sleep. Lights should be out at the appointed bedtime. A quiet and relaxing bedroom with comfortable temperature is conducive to sleep. Exposure to bright lights in the evening may adversely affect sleep. The advice is to use the bed exclusively for sleep.
Food, drinks and bedtime. It is best to avoid eating a large meal and drinking too much water before bedtime. Try not to drink coffee in the late afternoon and or evening. Drinking alcohol before bedtime will interfere with sleep.
If you are worried about not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much, consult your doctor.
The song ends with a question and answer, “They like to sleep, how do we know it’s so, ’cause everybody, everybody sleeps, everybody sleeps.”
Watson NF, Badr MS, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. J Clin Sleep Med 2015;11(6):591–592.
American Alliance for Healthy Sleep. 2017 Feb 9. Healthy Sleep from http://sleepeducation.org