Start off the New Year with a goal that has a huge impact on your health – sleep.

Sleep allows your body to repair itself physically and mentally from the stress of the day. Proper sleep affects the types of decisions and choices you make every day.  So, how much sleep is enough??

Typical and average healthy sleep cycles:
•      Adults – 7.5-9 hrs
•      Teens – 8.5-10 hrs
•      Children – 11-13 hrs

Everyone’s sleep requirements are unique.  One of the mysteries I personally resolved was why when getting eight hours of sleep every night, I was waking up so tired.  I found out I wasn’t spending enough time in deep and REM sleep.  It’s not just the quantity of sleep but it’s also the quality of sleep that can make a difference.

Each stage of the sleep cycle offers benefits, however, deep sleep and REM sleep (stages 3 and 4) are particularly important.

During deep sleep,your body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead. Your body releases human growth hormone which plays a major role in maintaining your health by stimulating growth and development, repairing muscles and tissues, and boosting your immune system.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep renews the mind and plays a key role in learning and memory. During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of “feel-good” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that boost your mood.

If you’re looking to increase REM sleep, try sleeping an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, when REM sleep stages are longer. Improving your overall sleep will also increase your REM sleep.

Tips for getting good sleep, night after night

Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night and choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn.

Wake up at the same time every day.

Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.

Fight after–dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

Factors to avoid that can lead to poor or inadequate deep sleep include:
·       Being woken during the night
·       Working night shifts or swing shifts
·       Smoking or drinking in the evening

So start your New Year off right and get to bed! Just kidding – Doc


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