Sleeping is an essential part of daily life. It’s how our cells and muscles fix damages, and it’s also the time when growth hormones start to kick in. However, the efficiency of these functions relies on how much we sleep, and considering that 70 million Americans are diagnosed with sleep disorders, it’s hard to say whether the nation has a healthy sleeping habit.
How much time should you exactly sleep at night? Interestingly enough, the answer to that is not eight. The healthy number of hours of sleep has been bouncing around six to nine hours, depending on your age, body type, and daily activity. But only 60% of Americans get seven hours of sleep. The remaining 40% bounce back between four to six hours of sleep. We all know that’s not very healthy, especially if you work eight to ten hours a day. But why is this the case?
The Reason Why we Lack Sleep
There are various reasons why so many Americans lack sleep today when compared to many years ago. One of these reasons is that there are too many things to do today when compared to before. Work, technology, friends, and loved ones are all interconnected through the internet, and we have access to the internet 24/7. Another reason is substance use.
People who consume alcohol or smoke before sleeping can find that it’s much harder to sleep. As we all know, the rates of those vices have somewhat increased throughout the years. However, eating before sleeping can also produce the same effect.
Lastly, and one of the main reasons why many Americans lack sleep is the accumulation of these and many other factors. This accumulation leads to unhealthy sleeping habits. Experts believe that one way we can solve our lack of sleep is by developing healthy sleeping habits. Here’s how we can do that.
Sleep interruptions are one reason why many Americans can’t develop a healthy sleeping habit, and you should do your best to avoid it at all costs. There are many reasons why our sleep gets interrupted in the middle of the night. One of them is the temperature of our bed.
The circulation of cold and hot air is very much different on our bed, and regulating it can’t be done by a simple thermometer or smart device. Instead, you’ll have to do it manually. Having a fan under your sheets can help regulate temperatures so that your sleep uninterrupted.
This will help you reach REM sleep much faster and more consistently, hence, giving you more energy throughout the day. It’s a simple investment that can make a difference in your productivity and alertness the next day. But it’s not just temperature that interrupts our sleep but the technology around us as well.
Many Americans check their phones before they sleep, and some sleep with their phones right next to them. Before they know it, they wake up to some notification bell reminding them that their favorite YouTuber has posted a video. Sure, they can easily ignore this, but once someone has checked their phone, they want to check other things as well.
Then they are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, checking on many other notifications they have missed. Don’t let this happen to you. Turn off your phone before you sleep, or put it on silent. The only thing you need to hear from your phone is your alarm for the next day.
Homeostasis plays a big role in our lives. In simple terms, homeostasis is the different functions that our body does to maintain a state of equilibrium. For example, bedtime rituals help enable homeostasis before we sleep to tell bodily functions to stop stressing each other out.
Some healthy bedtime rituals include avoiding bright lights like a smartphone or computer screen before going to bed. You can also read a light book under dim light to help your eyes ease into sleeping. Listening to calming music or the sound of rain can also help your brain relax. There are many bedtime rituals you can do. You have to find the right one for you.
Day Naps Should be Short
Lastly, you should keep your naps short. Naps should only be around twenty to thirty minutes, and this depends entirely on your body weight and your activities throughout the entire day. But it should never exceed thirty minutes. This is because the more time you spend napping, the more chances your body enters REM sleep. Once you do, it’ll be much harder for you to achieve it at night, hence ruining your healthy sleeping habits.
These are some simple ways to develop good and healthy sleeping habits. You can get yourself more hours of sleep at night. This will then translate to a more productive and active body the next day.