We all know the feeling of hearing the alarm go off after a long night of counting sheep. Getting a good night sleep is essential to maintaining health and enjoying life. There is no magic recipe to getting the perfect night’s sleep, but there are several basic practices that can help increase the chances of getting a long, restful night’s rest.
The amount of sleep needed varies depending on the individual and the age group. Babies generally need 16 hours of sleep each day, teens should get 9 hours and it’s recommended that adults sleep 7-8 hours each night. These numbers may vary and it’s important that you FEEL like you are rested after each night’s sleep. Signs of a good night’s rest may include:
- Waking up when the alarm sounds
- Clear thinking
- More energy
- Less worry or stress (or maybe better able to handle the challenges of life)
Better sleep does mean a better life! What are some basic things that all of us can do to better our night’s rest? The answer is Sleep Hygiene. Sleep Hygiene is a lot like personal hygiene. It includes the basic things that we should do everyday (like brushing our teeth and taking an occasional shower) that will keep us on track to getting a solid night sleep every night. I won’t list all the aspects of Sleep Hygiene but a few or my favorites are listed below.
- Scheduled Bedtime and Wake time. We all remember getting told to get to bed, but somewhere along the way we forget the wisdom of our mothers and we start thinking other things are more important. Going to bed the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning might be challenging at first, but once the habit is created, sleep will improve.
- No screen time. The blue light that comes from our TVs, phones, tablets, etc. can keep you awake, so do your best to decrease usage and do not use them in the bedroom!
- Get up as soon as your alarm goes off.
Getting a good night sleep is essential for the enjoyment of life. I believe we are here to enjoy the time we have, and by doing the small things to achieve a better night’s sleep, I have no doubt you will feel better and enjoy life more!
Eric Hogenson, MD
Canyon View Family Medicine