When a busy life pulls you in different directions, sleep can drop to the bottom of your priority list. It should be near the top. Lack of sleep can make everything else on your “to-do” list suffer. It can also be linked to chronic disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and other health issues.
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, and with daylight saving time beginning on March 11th, you should pay closer attention to your sleep routine. The amount of sleep you need changes as you age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these sleep guidelines:
· Infant – 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours
· Toddler – 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours
· Preschool – 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours
· School age – 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
· Teenager – 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours
· Adult – 7 or more hours per night
Sleep related difficulties affect many people. The reasons can vary but your brain and body always need time to unwind before you sleep. These tips can help you get a better night’s sleep:
Avoid Napping – Napping during the day may disturb your normal sleep pattern.
Get Enough Exercise – Exercise helps tire your body. While vigorous activity should be avoided close to bedtime, relaxing activities such as yoga may help you sleep.
Stick to a Routine – Keep your bedtime routine as consistent as possible.
Avoid Technology – Allow yourself time to relax before dozing off. Do not stimulate your brain with too much technology. Turn off the television, do not use your laptop in bed, and put down the phone.
Avoid Stimulants - Choose decaf over sugary or caffeinated drinks and alcohol. These things may disturb your body’s sleep cycle if taken too close to bedtime.