How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Did you know that lack of sleep can effect everything from job performance, memory and even your health? It’s more important than you may think and here are a fews you can help yourself sleep better without medication.

Stressful days often turn into sleepless nights. It can become a vicious cycle if you let it.

Just how much sleep do you need? Most adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function at their best, according to the National Sleep Foundation. 

As we age, sleeping can become a struggle. I have memories of my grandma always waking up around 5 o’clock in the morning and I never understood why. She told me “it’s not because I don’t want to sleep in, but I can’t sleep more than a few hours each night so I just get up and make a cup of coffee.” 

As I have begun to age, I understand this completely. Work stress, family stress, unhealthy eating habits, caffeine, alcohol and hormone changes (yes, menopause is no joke) all wreak havoc on my ability to get a good night’s sleep. Many nights I sleep for a few hours only to find myself wide awake lying in bed. Rather than drive myself crazy waiting to fall back to sleep, I will get up and turn on the tv hoping to eventually be overtaken with fatigue and sleep once more. However, it rarely turns out that way. The blue light from televisions and computer screens throw your body off. Your body doesn’t think that it is dark outside so the hormone melatonin isn’t released — leading to less ability to sleep.

On days when I have gotten up in the night, I feel overly tired, moody and unable to focus on the task at hand. It leads to using caffeine to help keep myself alert. Too much caffeine consumption can raise blood pressure, affect sleep, cause irritability, and upset your stomach. Caffeine should be limited to 400 mgs a day according to Mayo Clinic. That amount is the equivalent of four cups of regular coffee or two energy drinks. It should also be used earlier in the day. Use of caffeine after 3:00 PM can keep you awake at night.

I have also found that exercise is a fantastic way to help myself sleep. It’s also the best way to start your day in my opinion! A good workout leaves your body tired and makes sleep come more easily. There’s nothing quite like getting into bed after a long day that started with a nice run or swim. Your body needs sleep to recover from workouts, so for me, I sleep more soundly when I am working out regularly.

The bottom line is that sleep is important. It’s important mentally and physically. So don’t skimp on sleep. It is bad for your health. If you try these methods and still can’t sleep, please come in to one of our four convenient locations and let us help keep you moving. I & O Medical Centers has got your back.