Are you tired? Is your child tired and cranky? Is your teen grumpy and on the edge? Sleep deficit could be the culprit. How much sleep do you need? It may be more than you think especially for your children. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, preschoolers need 11-12 hours of sleep while school age children should aim for 10 hours. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/howmuch
Many adults suffer from sleep deficits. Are you one of those people who struggle to get enough sleep? Adults (including the elderly) should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
What about your teenager? Teens need 9 – 10 hours of sleep each night. There may be a reason why teens love to sleep in and catch extra zzz’s on the week-end. Are they getting enough sleep during the week? Work with them to understand the importance of sleep and encourage them to turn off the phone, laptop or tablet and get a little more sleep. You may see improvements in their school work and attitudes.
Here are 5 tips to help you get a more restful sleep:
- Watch Caffeine. Limit your caffeine and find your cut off point. Some people are sensitive to the effects of caffeine and need to limit it early in the day, even as early as 12 noon.
- Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine. Establish a bedtime routine that allows you time to relax and wind down from the day. I like to read a novel to relax and get my mind off the worries of the day. Find a relaxing routine that works for you. Perhaps it is giving thanks for the positives in your day or soaking in the tub. Find what works for you and make it part of your life.
- Avoid napping if at all possible. According to WebMD, limit your naps to 20 minutes and take them early in the day (if you must nap). If you are sleepy in the mid afternoon – reach for a glass of water, get up and move or change your routine. Perhaps you can fit in a healthy snack such as a few nuts or a vegetable or fruit. Do something to help you break the tired cycle.
- Time your Exercise. Exercising too close to bedtime may energize you and make it difficult to sleep. Consider that gentle Mind/body relaxation exercises may actually help your slumber. Try yoga, Tai Chi, or other relaxation techniques.
- Watch the Noise. Use “white noise” which blocks disruptive noises you may be hearing. A simple fan works for some or you can download an app on your phone or use a sound machine. Use caution however with the blue light from your smart phone or tablet as this may interfere with your sleep pattern.
Want to learn how to relax? Check out these free three MP3 files by Kathi Kemper, MD, MPH from Integrative Medicine Services at Ohio State University, http://go.osu.edu/relaxresponse
Dr. Kathi Kemper offers three different relaxation exercises based on the work of Herbert Benson, author of The Relaxation Response. According to Dr. Kemper, potential benefits of practicing relaxation exercise can include relaxed muscles, slower breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance. You may find reduced addictive cravings, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and stress.
Getting adequate sleep may be a key factor in helping you stay healthy. Check out a great article on WebMD about The Healing Power of Sleep, http://go.osu.edu/healingpowerofsleep You will find information about how getting adequate sleep can help you fight disease and infection, maintain or lose weight, and improve memory function.
Do you have a tip to share on helping us get our sleep? If so, post it via the comment section so we can share with others.