All too often, I hear that people around me aren’t sleeping enough (don’t worry I’m often a part of that group as well!) However, I think it’s important that we all recognize just how important sleep really is to our health!
Sleep is important for your overall RECOVERY from a long day of work, exercise and life's numerous stressors. This is the optimal time your body RECHARGES itself so we can function at our best.
Let’s take a brief overview of the sleep process. On average we spend about 20% of our sleeping time in REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep, which is typically where dreaming and high brain activity occurs. The rest of our time is spent in NREM (non-REM) sleep which is comprised of 4 stages. Stages 3 and 4 (deep sleep) are important for cell rebuilding, growth and repair1!
Did you know that the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults (aged 18-64) get 7-9 hours of sleep a night?
Do you feel like you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep?
What is keeping you from sleeping enough?
There are many individual reasons as to why people aren’t sleeping enough, but there are some general ones as well!
Are you drinking caffeine in the late afternoon or using your cell phone to check your social media right before bed?
When using your cell phone before bed the light is actually suppressing melatonin release2 (helps trigger your body that it’s ready for bed). Recently, Apple came out with a feature called Night Shift, which will decrease the harsh light on your screen when it gets closer to bedtime!
So what are some ways to make a more conducive sleeping environment? Try leaving your cell phone 30 minutes prior to falling asleep, avoid caffeine/alcohol right before bed and try reading a book before bed to help get relaxed.
Hopefully some of these tips help improve your night's sleep so you can be rested and ready to tackle your next day!
Dr. Mary Claire Malooly, DPT, ATC
Reference group executive summary spring 2013. American College Health Association. National College Health Assessment II. Accessed from: http://www.acha-ncha.org/docs/ACHA-NCHA-II_UNDERGRAD_ReferenceGroup_ExecutiveSummary_Spring2013.pdf Accessed on: 2/18/16.
- Chervin RD, Hershner SD. Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students. Nature and Science of Sleep. 2014:6 73-84.