The Lie-In King: Measuring Your Sleeping Patterns And Knowing When You’ve Had Enough
The Importance Of Sleep
We all know how important sleep is for both our mental health and physical health. For children and teens, it supports growth and healthy development. It is a time during which your brain makes new pathways and prepares for the next day ahead. It’s also time for physical repair of your body; for example, the healing and repair of your muscles, blood vessels and much more. But how much sleep is enough? How much is too little? How much is too much?
We spend a third of our lives asleep. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But for adults, it is generally recommended that you get eight hours of sleep a night and those hours mount up. So why is this the recommended amount of time? Well, research suggests that those who regularly get less than this amount are 12% more likely to experience a premature death. The same studies found that those who regularly sleep for longer than this eight hours are 30% more likely to experience a premature death. Scary stuff, right?
Not Getting Enough Sleep? Why?
Obviously, eight solid hours of sleep isn’t always possible. There are all sorts of reasons that people might not go to bed at 10pm and rise at 6am. Some are unavoidable, whereas others are. Some justified reasons for missed hours of rest might revolve around family and work commitments. You might have a lot of work on. You might have family events to attend and a 9am start in the office. Maybe you have a newborn baby who wakes you regularly. Perhaps you do night shifts. These are all fairly inescapable reasons. However, a lot of the time, the reasons we crawl out of bed, groggy eyed, after a couple of hours’ restless sleep are entirely avoidable. We might kid ourselves that it’s not our own fault that we’re unrested when it comes to getting out of the sheets. But a lot of the time it is. There are so many external factors garnering for our attention nowadays that we’re distracted. Think of all the times that you’ve stayed up scrolling through meme pages and your Facebook news feed. The times that you stayed out for “just one more” down the pub. Every occasion you’ve binge watched a series of Netflix through the night, knowing full well that you really should have closed the laptop a couple of hours ago. Matters aren’t helped by other stimulants. Artificial lighting, caffeine, alcohol and energy drinks, for example.
Getting Too Much Sleep?
Too much sleep sounds like a luxury to those of us who wake at the crack of dawn for a daily commute. But it is a problem if you get more than eight hours’ sleep daily. It sounds bizarre doesn’t it? This is backed up by scientific evidence though. Scientists have conducted all sorts of studies on sleep and found that those who regularly got more than nine hours’ a night had a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. So why might you be sleeping too much? It might be good to check in with your GP to find out. Oversleeping is sometimes a medical condition called hypersomnia. Symptoms include extreme sleepiness throughout the day, which isn’t generally relieved by napping. Oversleeping could also potentially highlight a mental illness, such as depression.
Working Out If Your Sleep Pattern Is Healthy
We all have different lifestyles, but not to worry. Sleeping straight through the witching hours isn’t the only way to get a healthy night’s kip. Here are a few ways to check that your sleeping pattern is healthy, whether you’re sleeping in the day or night.
- You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down in bed
- You regularly sleep for a total of 7-9 hours in every 24 hour period
- While in bed, your sleep is continuous (you don’t wake regularly and struggle to get your head back down)
- You awake feeling refreshed
- You feel alert during your waking hours and are able to be productive
- You don’t have any nighttime concerns, such as snoring, sleep apnea or restlessness
Getting A Better Night’s Sleep
So now we understand the importance of sleep, how do we go about improving our sleep cycle? Well, lifestyle changes are going to help dramatically. Here are a few ideas to consider.
We’re easily distracted. When it comes to going to bed, turn the television off, put your phone down and put your laptop out of reach. Minimize external influences that may keep you up later than you need to be.
For some of us, the reason that we are unable to get to sleep easily is discomfort. You should make sure that the room you’re sleeping in is a comfortable haven with a good atmosphere. If you’re sensitive to light and sound, consider investing in black out blinds, sleep masks and earplugs. Noisy neighbours or housemates can also pose a problem. A lot of the time, people don’t realize that they’re making too much noise. Politely confront loud individuals and they’re likely to change their behaviour and be more considerate. Make sure that there are good vibes in your room. A cluttered, messy room can be hard to nod off in. A clear, tidy room has a less busy atmosphere and will leave you feeling more relaxed. A final thing to consider? Your bed. Your bed should be comfortable. If you have springs poking in your back, it’s not surprising that you’ll be tossing and turning all night. If it’s time to replace your mattress, Check out My Green Mattress Pure Echo (solid review here).
As we mentioned earlier, bad sleep patterns may be a consequence of medical issues, such as insomnia, hypersomnia and sleep apnea. If you believe that you might suffer from any of these issues, or other issues, contact your GP. They will be able to diagnose your problem and offer you treatment. Be it tablets or counselling. There is a way to help you. You just need to confront the problem, seek help and find out what will be the best method of treatment for you as an individual.
Tia, and TipsfromTia.com is trying to keep you looking good and
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