Most people I know live a scheduled lifestyle Monday through Friday. My schedule looks a bit like this:
5:15 am Alarm Goes Off
5:40am: Leave for the Gym
7:00 am: Return home from the gym
8:00am: Get to work
4:45pm: Leave from work
5:00pm: Pick up around the house
6:00pm: Prep/start dinner
6:45pm: Eat Dinner
7:15pm: Clean up after dinner
8:00pm: Sit down and relax, watch TV, play board games, read, etc.
10:00pm: Time for bed
My weeks are all the same. Yes, there are some variances but when it comes to what time I go to bed and what time I wake up in the morning, those remain the same. So why is it that some weeks I wake up at 5 ready to go and other weeks where I can’t seem to every feel refreshed?
For starters, I know that I have some days or some weeks where my sleep quality is poor. I am up all night with my To Do List or Prepping for a meeting in my mind instead of “counting sheep.” My anxiety is high, I break out in sweats, I toss, I turn, I fidget, I lie awake to a clock that reminds me of just how close I am to having to be a fully functioning adult. Am I the only one going through this? Not even close! For example, surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (1999-2004) revealed that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. With so many people having sleep problems what can be done and how much sleep sound I get a night?
This is a complicated and loaded question. There is no set number of hours that each individual should sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Everyone’s individual sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Additionally, the amount of activity, stress, anxiety, sickness, time in the sun, etc. a person may be experience will also change the amount of sleep needed. Since I can’t come to each and everyone’s house to tuck them into bed and read them a bedtime story to make sure everyone is receiving enough sleep, it is your job to make sure you are suited to have the best sleep possible.
To help increase your quality of sleep, here are some tips provided by Mayo Clinic.
1: Stick to a sleep schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine — which take hours to wear off — can wreak havoc with quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
5: Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.
If you work nights, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn’t interrupt your daytime sleep.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace to your life, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.