10 Simple Steps to Better Sleep

Sleep. Teenagers love it, toddlers fight it, and for some of us, good sleep is just a distant memory. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just sleep and get healthier? Well, you can. We all know we should eat better, get more active, de-stress, but often we forget that we need to SLEEP!

Why is sleep so important? The National Institutes of Health claim that sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our lives. The way we feel while we are awake can depend in part on what happens while we are sleeping. During sleep, our bodies are working to support healthy brain function and maintain our physical health. 

In children and teens, sleep supports growth and development.  Getting inadequate sleep over time can raise the risk of chronic (long-term) health problems. It can affect how we think, react, work, learn, and interact with others. 

Wake up refreshed
I can't sleep

Issues with blood pressure, hormones, metabolism, respiratory and immune systems can affect your sleep. Make an appointment with your health care team to help you navigate these health issues and possibly improve your sleep. Remember, you are your own health advocate.  There is no need to struggle getting good sleep!

Well, how much sleep do people need?  The National Sleep Foundation guidelines (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.

Knowing the general recommendations for your sleep requirements is a first step. Then it is important to reflect on your individual needs based upon factors such as your activity level and overall health.  Of course, it’s also necessary to apply healthy sleep tips so that you can actually get the recommended full night’s sleep.

Recommended Sleep Times By Age Group

Recommended sleep times are broken into nine age groups. In each group, the guidelines present a recommended range of nightly sleep duration for healthy individuals. In some cases, sleeping an hour more or an hour less than the general range may be acceptable based upon a person’s circumstances.

Age Range Recommended Hours Of Sleep
Newborn 0-3 months old 14-17 hours
Infant 4-11 months old 12-15 hours
Toddler 1-2 years old 11-14 hours
Preschool 3-5 years old 10-13 hours
School age 6-13 years old 9-11 hours
Teen 14-17 years old 8-10 hours
Young adult 18-25 years old 7-9 hours
Adult 26-64 years old 7-9 hours
Older Adult 65 or more years old 7-8 hours
Turn Can't into CAN

Here are 10 simple steps to get you on your way to better sleep:

  1. Stick to the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends.
  2. Practicing a relaxing pre-bed routine to make it easier to fall asleep quickly.
    This could be a hot bath, reading or listening to music
  3. Choose a mattress that is supportive and comfortable. Choose the best pillows for the type of sleeper, you are.  (side, back, etc.)
  4. Minimize potential disruptions from light and sound.  Disconnect from electronic devices and laptops for a half-hour or more before bed.
  5. Avoid large meals and drinks late at night.
  6. Exercise regularly, but not 2-3 hours before bed.
  7. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep.
  8. Keep the room temperature cool.
  9. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  10. Try to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight per day. 
Good Morning lady waking up refreshed

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day, chronic snoring, leg cramps or tingling, difficulty breathing during sleep, chronic insomnia, or other symptoms that are preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care doctor or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause. Talk to your Doctor about getting a good night’s sleep. Getting good sleep may help you eat better, get healthier and perform mentally and emotionally throughout the day.

Sweet dreams!

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