Why Sleep Matters
Sleep matters, but it’s often hard to get enough of it. The average adult should be getting up to 9 hours of sleep each night, but frequently only manages 7. It can be difficult fitting a healthy sleeping schedule around a 9-5 job, but the importance of getting a good night’s rest can’t be overlooked.
“Good sleep is important on so many levels,” stresses Hoy Garvin, Director of Network Sleep Services. “In the short term, sleepiness decreases cognition which impairs safety and disparages productivity.”
So how much sleep is enough? Here is the ideal amount for various age groups.
- Adults: 7.5-9 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
- Children, ages 6-12: 9-12 hours
- Children, ages 3-5: 10-13 hours
- Children, ages 1-2: 11-14 hours
What prevents you from getting quality sleep
A number of external factors can inhibit our ability to get enough rest. Pressure to work late into the evening can lead to a sacrifice of sleep, and the artificial light from computers and cell phones only compounds the problem. Likewise, restless pets in the bedroom can rouse their owners from deep sleep, which is the most rejuvenating stage in the sleeping process.
Oftentimes internal factors are at play. Garvin, including insomnia and sleep apnea. These conditions, if untreated, can lead to long-term health consequences. “Medically speaking poor sleep can increase our risks for stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and atrial fibrillation.”
How to improve your sleep hygiene
Getting enough sleep increases your cognition, restores energy and encourages productivity. While you can’t always control outside factors that affect sleep, it’s easy to improve your sleep hygiene, in other words, your ability to get a good night’s rest. Cutting out sources of natural or artificial light, like TVs or computers, can go a long way toward preparing your body to rest. Also, removing pets and silencing your cellphone will ensure your sleep goes uninterrupted.
If you suspect you’re living with a sleep disorder, Community’s sleep centers offer both at-home and overnight sleep study options. Visit eCommunity.com/sleep for more information, and consult your primary care doctor to learn about treatment options.