As human beings, one of our most basic needs is getting a good nights sleep. In fact, it is a well-established fact that the need for sleep can overpower the need to eat. Yet a recent study points out that many adults get less than six hours of shut-eye per night, where most need about eight hours to properly restore and rejuvenate for the next day. That two-hour deficit can have an incredibly negative impact on our daily lives. If you are among this sleep-deprived group, the following information may persuade you to change your night owl ways.
Getting less than six hours of sleep on a consistent basis, as is the practice of about 15% of the population, means that these people experience an increase in stress, fatigue, sadness and anger during the day. On top of that, when people do not get an adequate amount of sleep, their work performance almost always declines, and they’re likely to suffer more injuries than their well-rested counterparts. Many have a hard time getting along with people. Some even eat more than usual, and it’s probably the high sugar type snacks that have a tendency to temporarily boost energy, so weight gain can become a problem as well.
On the flip side, those who get at least eight hours of sleep per night enjoy a sense of peace and are satisfied with life. They are able to stay alert and energetic during the day, thereby maintaining a high level of productivity at work and reducing the risk of injury that can come with fatigue.
If all of this is persuading you to revisit your sleep habits, know that there are some simple steps you can take to improve your quality of sleep.
- First and foremost, establish a schedule. For most adults, 10:00-6:00 works well, but you may need to modify this to accommodate your lifestyle. Try to stick to that schedule as close as you can 7 days a week.
- Short naps around 1:00 in the afternoon can help to, but limit them to about 15-30 minutes.
- If you find that your level of anxiety goes up when your head hits the pillow, take some time before bed to jot down whatever’s on your mind, and plan to address those issues the next day. This should help alleviate some nighttime stress.
- If you’re having a hard time winding down, hit the sack a little bit earlier and flip through a magazine or pick up a good book. Most likely you’ll soon feel drowsy and sleep will come easily.