ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Improve Sleep for Better Health

Updated on September 12, 2018
Darleen Barnard profile image

Darleen Barnard is Certified Health Coach and Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in weight loss by using the power of the mind.

Stages of Life and the Impact on Sleep

Sleep. We all want more of it, yet most of us can’t get it. The truth is that each stage of our life brings us extra sleep challenges.

Typical Stages:

  • When we were a child, we went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up.
  • As a teenager, we slept way more than 8 hours. Our parents were knocking on our door at noon on the weekend telling us it was time to get up.
  • As a young adult, we went out on our own and were up all-night and slept all day.
  • Then, we got married and had babies. We were always exhausted and always wanted to sleep but couldn’t. Add a career on top of family, and sleep deprivation is an understatement.
  • We finally started sleeping normal again and then…
  • Our children start dating and driving. That just about does us in! Thank goodness for cell phones, but even so, we can’t fall asleep until they got home.
  • Then our kids go to college and we finally feel like we have regained a little control. Life is good.

Regardless of the stage of life you are in, we are all meant to recharge our batteries daily and if we don’t do that we start to bear the consequences.

Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation

You have probably felt the effects of not getting enough sleep at some point in your life. Although not a complete list, some of the more common effects include:

  1. Weight Gain or Loss
  2. Thinking and Reasoning
  3. Increased Risk for Diabetes
  4. Weakened Immunity
  5. Impaired Memory
  6. Mood Changes
  7. Increased Chance of Accidents
  8. Low Sex Drive
  9. High Blood Pressure
  10. Risk of Heart Disease

Obviously, sleep is a critical ingredient to living a healthy lifestyle. We need both quality sleep and quantity. Let’s address quantity first.

How much sleep do we need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults between the ages of 26-64 need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but 6-10 may be within the acceptable range depending on the person. The chart below shows the recommendations by age category.

Sleep Recommendations

Recommendations to Improve Sleep

So now that we know how much we need, what are some tips to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation offers the following recommendations:

  • Establish a rhythm of sleep, go to bed at the same time nightly and get up at the same time. It is recommended that we stick to the same sleep schedule, even on the weekends and many experts state that you can’t really “catch up” on sleep when we can’t get the recommended number of hours during the week. Listen to your body and do your best to give it what it needs.
  • Avoid naps, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night. Although a quick nap may help us power through the afternoon, it interferes with your sleep in the evening.
  • Get exercise during the day – especially vigorous activity. Any time of the day is fine, but if you are very sleep deprived and not getting enough sleep, don’t try to get up early to exercise. Again, listen to your body.
  • Set the thermostat between 60-67 degrees.
  • Block out light and noise as much as possible. If your partner snores, consider ear plugs, white noise or a fan.

  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. Even if you sleep through the night, you won’t be getting quality sleep and nobody likes waking up with a stiff neck or sore back.
  • Practice a bedtime ritual and turn off your television, computer and iPad at night. Consider deep breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and meditation.
  • Manage light throughout the day. Get sunlight during the day and avoid bright light at night to manage circadian rhythms.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and large meals before bed. Avoid eating any large meals 3 hours before bed but if you are really hungry, go ahead and have a light snack.
  • If you go to bed and cannot sleep, get up and go into another room and do a relaxing activity, such as reading, until you feel tired.
  1. If you still struggle with getting enough quality sleep, consider seeing a sleep professional.

Poll

What is your biggest challenge with getting enough sleep

See results

© 2018 Darleen Barnard

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)