Need Sleep? Tips To Help Bring on the Z’s (Infographic)
If you're like most people, you probably can't remember the last time you had a good night's sleep. So many things can interrupt healthy sleep: sick children; a stressful day at work; concerns about aging parents, finances and day-to-day issues.
But it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do. During sleep, the body produces hormones that:
- Help children grow
- Help children and adults build muscle mass, fight infections and repair cells
- Positively affect how your body uses energy
"Because many adults don’t get the recommended eight hours, simply getting more sleep can improve health," said Crystal Hines-Mays, MD, a family physician at Franciscan Physician Network Homewood Health Center. "Sleep is restorative, improves the immune system and helps to remove toxins in the brain."
Not getting enough sleep compromises your health and is associated with several chronic diseases and conditions, including:
Lack of sleep also interferes with concentration, energy and memories and affects performance. It's also been linked to risk-taking behavior. Some medical issues, called sleep disorders, can be the problem. And for women approaching menopause, hot flashes and hormonal changes can lead to insomnia and increased sleep apnea, too.
So with the odds seemingly stacked against you, what can you do to catch those much needed Z's? Start with these seven tips for a better night's sleep:
- Limit or eliminate caffeine in your diet.
- Maintain a regular sleep and wake time.
- Limit or don't drink alcohol in the evening because alcohol can interfere with deep sleep and with breathing. Also, when the effects of your drink wear off in the middle of the night, you tend to wake up.
- Exercise regularly but not right before bedtime.
- Get daily exposure to sunlight. Sunlight helps regulate your daily sleeping patterns.
- Don't use digital screens or watch television for at least one hour before you sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment in your bedroom.
So how much sleep is enough? Sleep needs vary from person to person but these recommended guidelines are a good place to start:
- Sleep needed by infants from 0 to 1 years of age range from 12 to 17 hours per day.
- Between the ages of 1 and 5, the amount of necessary sleep ranges between 11 and 14 hours per day.
- After age 5, the amount of sleep needed for optimal health ranges from 8 to 11 hours each day until age 18.
- After age 18, needed sleep is approximately 7 to 9 hours per night
- After age 18, sleep needs don't decline any further as older adults over age 65 still need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
These healthy sleep tips are important for the entire family. If you or a family member has persistent trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your healthcare provider.
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