Who doesn’t love sleep? I manage to get an average of eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Sometimes even ten! My husband thinks anything over eight on a regular basis is too much, but I disagree. I think it depends on the person. I feel much more alert and focused on a night when I got a solid eight to nine hours, as opposed to the days I only got six or woke up for two hours in the middle of the night. My husband seems perfectly fine with just six hours of sleep. Both my children have always been great sleepers, even from the time they came home from the hospital. Most nights my five year old is in bed by 8:00 pm and asleep by 8:30 pm, and generally wakes between 6:30 and 7:30 am. However, I have noticed that since the beginning of the school year my son has been very cranky and agitated. I attribute this to his three full days and two half days of school. It seems like ten to eleven hours of sleep should be an adequate amount for a five year old. But it doesn’t seem as if his body has caught up to the change yet because I have been dealing with a real bear lately!
Why is sleep so important? It helps restore our bodies. While we sleep new cells are made and restore old ones. It cuts down on inflammation which can lead to heart disease, premature aging, diabetes, arthritis, and stroke. It aids in memory and learning. It improves eye to hand coordination, judgement, and decision making skills. It boosts immune function, metabolism, digestion, and other vital functions. Without adequate sleep your body becomes worn down and is unable to fight off infection. Some of the benefits to getting more sleep include sharper attention, lower stress, healthier weight, more creative, lowered rates of depression and anxiety, and less accidents (car or otherwise).
Have trouble falling or staying asleep? I do. Here are a few tips if you have trouble getting to sleep.
1. darken the room
2. use white noise such as a loud fan, air conditioner or humidifier, or sound machine.
3. keep your room cool
4. don’t watch television or stare at a computer, Ipad, Itouch, etc right before turning off the light
5. read (something boring if you really can’t fall asleep)
6. keep a pen and paper next to your bed so if you are thinking of something you can write it down and get it out of your mind.
I don’t know if anyone else has this sleep issue, but I will drift off to sleep for a few hours no problem, but then wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep for two hours! I wake up exhausted! Here are a few more tips I found in getting back to sleep or ways to sleep uninterrupted:
1. If it has been 20 minutes and you are still not sleeping, get out of bed and do a quiet activity. Stretching, light reading, crossword puzzle, etc. Avoid electronics, bright lights.
2. Avoid caffeine after noon and limit alcohol to one drink several hours before bed. Both of these can interrupt sleep.
3. Don’t watch the clock! Turn the clock upside down or away from you.
4. Go to sleep when you are sleepy and wake up at the same time every day.
5. Get regular exercise.
6. Don’t nap!