Between work, demanding school schedules, and trying to find time for family and friends, we often push ourselves to extend our days longer and longer. While that laundry list of responsibilities can leave sleep at the bottom of our priorities, it should actually be near the top. Lack of sleep can make everything else on that “to-do” list suffer. It can also be linked to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and other health issues.

How much sleep do you need?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these sleep guidelines:

  • Infant – 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours
  • Toddler – 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours
  • Preschool – 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours
  • School age – 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
  • Teenager – 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours
  • Adult – 7 or more hours per 24 hours

The reasons for sleep-related difficulties/sleeping difficulties can vary, but one thing to note is your brain and body always need time to unwind before sleep.

These tips may help you get a better night’s sleep:

  1. Avoid Napping – Excessive napping during the day may disturb your normal sleep pattern.
  2. Get Enough Exercise – Exercise helps tire your body. While vigorous activity should be avoided close to bedtime, relaxing activities such as yoga or light stretching may help you sleep.
  3. Stick to a Routine – Keep your bedtime routine as consistent as possible.
  4. Avoid Technology – Allow yourself time to relax before dozing off. Do not stimulate your brain with excessive electronic use. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you stop using technology (television, laptop, phone, etc.) 30 minutes before going to bed.
  5. Avoid Stimulants – Choose decaf over sugary or caffeinated drinks and alcohol. These may disturb your body’s sleep cycle if taken too close to bedtime.

When to ask for help

For some people, bedtime is the most dreaded time of day because they know they will face a fierce battle with sleep. If you have been told that you snore or stop breathing when you sleep, feel fatigued all day long, spend hours trying to fall asleep, or frequently wake up in the early morning and cannot get back to sleep, talk to your doctor. They can advise you about different treatment options and techniques to regulate your sleep patterns.

We are here when you need us! Patient First is able to evaluate and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, every day of the year – no appointment is needed.

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