Hours of Sleep

Hours of Sleep

Sleeping well means getting enough sleep to feel well and stay healthy.

How much sleep is enough can vary from person to person. In general, most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each day. However, the number of hours you sleep isn’t as important as how you feel when you wake up. If you wake up groggy or feel tired throughout the day, you probably need more sleep.

Why is sleep important?

Getting a good night’s rest is a key part of good health. The benefits are endless. Good sleep can help keep your immune system strong so you can stay healthy. It can also help improve your mood and reduce stress.

When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you may:

  • Feel more grumpy or stressed.
  • Have a harder time dealing with daily life stressors.
  • Have trouble concentrating or remembering things.

Not getting enough sleep can also lead to more serious problems, like anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system, and being more prone to accidents or injuries.

Tips for sleeping better

These tips can help you get a better night’s rest and wake up feeling more refreshed. You might start by trying one or two ideas until you find what works best for you.

Your environment

Your bedroom should be a relaxing sanctuary suited to rest and relaxation. Some light reading may help you fall asleep. The light from electronic devices can make it more difficult to sleep, so it’s best to avoid watching television or scrolling on your smartphone or tablet.

Try to keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool. Use curtains, blinds or a sleep mask to block out light. Some people find that listening to soothing music, meditations or white noise helps them fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.

Your routines

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Try taking a warm shower or bath and listening to soothing music. You may also find that deep breathing, yoga, meditation or guided muscle relaxation helps. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. Make sure you exercise regularly. Taking a walk outside is a great exercise to help with sleep. Walking gets your body moving, more tired and prepped for rest. And being outside in the daytime helps your body regulate its internal clock.

Things to avoid

  • Limit caffeine during the day. Avoid consuming any caffeine for at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it can cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night.
  • Avoid taking naps during the day, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid heavy meals and foods that can cause stomach upset close to bedtime.
  • Avoid looking at the clock throughout the night. Looking at the clock can cause you to focus on (and worry about) how much sleep you’re missing. This can cause more anxiety and cause you to miss out on sleep.

When you still can’t sleep

  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful, pleasant scene. Focus on the details and feelings of being in a place that is relaxing.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Lie in a comfortable position, breathe in deeply through your nose to a count of 10, and then breathe out through your mouth. Focusing on your breathing can help center you and take the focus off things that may be keeping you awake.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes or so, get up and do a quiet or boring task in another room until you feel sleepy.

If you still have trouble sleeping, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your provider can help identify any underlying issues and help you get the sleep you need.