Good sleep is important for your health, physically and mentally. To be the best you at all times, you must allow your body rest and refresh itself through sleep. In our last edition, we discussed the benefits of a good night's sleep for your physical and mental wellbeing. An additional benefit of getting enough sleep is that you guarantee safety for yourself and others, and perform optimally when you're alert. Lack of sleep may cause microsleep - a situation where one loses consciousness for up to 30 seconds. If this happens when you're driving or operating heavy machinery, you endanger the lives of everyone in your immediate vicinity.
How much sleep should you be getting?
How long you need to sleep every day will change as you grow older. The older you are; the less time you need for sleep. The specific number of hours will vary among individuals, but below is a general recommendation:
* New-borns: 16 - 18 hours a day
* Preschool-aged children: 11–12 hours a day
* School-aged children: At least 10 hours a day
* Teenagers: 9 - 10 hours a day
* Adults (including the elderly): 6 - 8 hours a day
Tips for Getting Enough Sleep
We've said a lot about establishing a regular sleep pattern and maintaining a proper sleep cycle. So, how do you break the habit of sleeping late, and ensure a truly restful night? Try these tips, and see if you don't get significantly different results.
Watch The Drinks: It's a given that tea or coffee before bed means no sleep for most people. However, you should also watch what you drink in the afternoons. Most flavored waters, packaged iced teas, sodas and energy-boosting drinks contain caffeine. So, to allow the effects wear off, stay away from these after lunch. If you want a nightcap, have it really early - no later than 6:00pm.
Choose The Right Dinner: For dinner, choose foods that are high in protein and tryptophan (converts to serotonin - a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep) like chicken, cheese, fresh vegetables, banana, milk, nuts and seeds, red meat, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. Avoid heavy meals though, eating too much will disrupt sleep.
No Phones Allowed in Bed: It's impolite to have your phone at the dinner table. It's also improper to have your phone in bed. Even when it's set on vibrate, your phone could still disturb your sleep if you're tuned to respond to every buzz and ping. If possible, disconnect from your phone (chats, calls and emails) at least 30 minutes before bed. Also use a real alarm clock, to avoid the temptation of keeping your phone close.
Fix the Mood for Snooze: Your body responds to stimuli - light means day (awake), dark means night (asleep). Keep your room dark while you sleep, but gradually make the lights dimmer as bedtime approaches. Either install low-watt light bulbs or use a dimmer switch. Don't overdo It. As important as it is to get enough sleep, it is even more important to not oversleep. Too much sleep will adversely affect your life spiritually, physically, financially, etc.