As the kids get back to school, we hear a lot about how important it is for them to get a good night's sleep. The same is true for adults. Getting the right amount of sleep can be essential to staying healthy by letting your body have enough time to restore and heal during nighttime hours. The amount of sleep everyone needs varies depending on age, but a good rule of thumb is 9-11 hours for school-age children, and 7-8 hours for adults. Often the many factors in our busy lives can interfere with the required amount of sleep needed each night, but you can take steps to try to help yourself or your child get the right amount of shuteye.
- Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends or holidays, to help create a consistent sleep pattern. However, if you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something else to avoid agonizing over falling asleep.
- Watch what you eat and drink: Being hungry or too full when going to bed can cause too much discomfort to fall asleep.
- Have a bedtime ritual: Create a ritual in which you do the same things before bed every day to help tell your body it’s time to wind down.
- Be comfortable: Work on a sleep environment that is comfortable to you, this often means cool, quiet, dark, and bedding that suits you.
- Limit daytime naps: Napping during the day can interfere with sleep at night. If you do nap, try to take the nap in the midafternoon and limit it to 10-30 minutes.
- Exercise: Including daily exercise can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper. Exercising too close to bed however can interfere with sleep by increasing energy.
- Manage Stress: Working on managing the daily stressors in life can help calm your mind and provide peaceful sleep. Before bed, try jotting down what is stressing you out and set it aside to be dealt with tomorrow.