How much sleep
BACK TO BETTER SLEEP
to bed at the same time each
night signals to your body that
it's time to sleep. Waking up
at the same time every day can
also help establish sleep patterns.
So try to stick to your sleep
schedule even on weekends. Don't
go to sleep more than an hour
later or wake up more than 2
to 3 hours later than you do
during the week.
not to exercise right before
bed, though, as it can rev you
up and make it harder to fall
asleep. Many sleep experts believe
that exercising 5 or 6 hours
before bedtime (in late afternoon)
may actually help a person sleep.
beverages with caffeine, such
as soda and coffee, after 4
PM. Nicotine is also a stimulant,
so quitting smoking may help
you sleep better. And drinking
alcohol in the evening can also
cause a person to be restless
and wake up during the night.
scary, or action movies or television
shows right before bed--anything
that might set your mind and
heart racing. Reading books
with involved or active plots
may also keep you from falling
or staying asleep.
Light signals the brain that
it's time to wake up. Staying
away from bright lights (including
computer screens!), as well
as meditating or listening to
soothing music, can help your
Naps of more than 30 minutes
during the day may keep you
from falling asleep later.
Don't wait until the night before
a big test to study. Cutting
back on sleep the night before
a test may mean you perform
worse than you would if you'd
studied less but got more sleep.
Studies show that people sleep
best in a dark room that is
slightly on the cool side. Close
your blinds or curtains (and
make sure they're heavy enough
to block out light) and turn
down the thermostat in your
room (pile on extra blankets
or wear PJs if you're cold).
Lots of noise can be a sleep
Bright light in the morning
signals to your body that it's
time to get going.
Infants generally require about 16 hours a day
School Aged Children and Pre
Children from 6 to 9 need about 10 HOURS of sleep
a night. But that is an age when getting the kids to
bed can be challenging. Bedtime can often collide with
an individual child's need for personal parental attention
without sibs and household mayhem. Schedule bedtime
to include a winding down period--a little private time
to discuss the day and tell stories which will prepare
your child for sleep.
Children ages 10 to 12 need nine hours of shuteye
a night. Be sure to get them to bed so they can meet
that commitment, but watch for signs that they may need
a bit more sleep.
Lack of sleep for kids can cause irritability and
hyper types of behavior. It can aggravate a condition
like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Most teens need about 8½ to more than 9 hours
of sleep each night. The right amount of sleep is essential
for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play sports
without tripping over their feet.
For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be
the best amount of sleep, although some people may need
a little less and or as many as 10 hours of sleep each
day. Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often
need several more hours of sleep than usual. The amount
of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she
has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting
too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which
is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually,
your body will demand that the debt be repaid.
People tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter
time spans as they get older, although they generally
need about the same amount of sleep as they needed in
early adulthood. About half of all people over 65 have
frequent sleeping problems, such as insomnia, and deep
sleep stages in many elderly people often become very
short or stop completely. This change may be a normal
part of aging, or it may result from poor sleep hygiene
or medical problems and from the medications and treatments
for those problems. If your sleep patterns are changing,
talk to your doctor.