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How much sleep is enough?

< BACK TO BETTER SLEEP

Some Ideas to Help Us All Sleep Better
 

Set a regular bedtime. Going to bed at the same time each night signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Waking up at the same time every day can also help establish sleep patterns. So try to stick to your sleep schedule even on weekends. Don't go to sleep more than an hour later or wake up more than 2 to 3 hours later than you do during the week.

Avoid late night snacks including drinks.

Exercise regularly. Try not to exercise right before bed, though, as it can rev you up and make it harder to fall asleep. Many sleep experts believe that exercising 5 or 6 hours before bedtime (in late afternoon) may actually help a person sleep.

Avoid stimulants. Don't drink beverages with caffeine, such as soda and coffee, after 4 PM. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so quitting smoking may help you sleep better. And drinking alcohol in the evening can also cause a person to be restless and wake up during the night.

Relax your mind. Avoid violent, scary, or action movies or television shows right before bed--anything that might set your mind and heart racing. Reading books with involved or active plots may also keep you from falling or staying asleep.

Unwind by keeping the lights low. Light signals the brain that it's time to wake up. Staying away from bright lights (including computer screens!), as well as meditating or listening to soothing music, can help your body relax.

Don't nap too much. Naps of more than 30 minutes during the day may keep you from falling asleep later.

Avoid all-nighters. Don't wait until the night before a big test to study. Cutting back on sleep the night before a test may mean you perform worse than you would if you'd studied less but got more sleep.

Create the right sleeping environment. Studies show that people sleep best in a dark room that is slightly on the cool side. Close your blinds or curtains (and make sure they're heavy enough to block out light) and turn down the thermostat in your room (pile on extra blankets or wear PJs if you're cold). Lots of noise can be a sleep turnoff, too.

Wake up with bright light. Bright light in the morning signals to your body that it's time to get going.

 

Infants

Infants generally require about 16 hours a day

School Aged Children and Pre Teens

Children from 6 to 9 need about 10 HOURS of sleep a night. But that is an age when getting the kids to bed can be challenging. Bedtime can often collide with an individual child's need for personal parental attention without sibs and household mayhem. Schedule bedtime to include a winding down period--a little private time to discuss the day and tell stories which will prepare your child for sleep.

Children ages 10 to 12 need nine hours of shuteye a night. Be sure to get them to bed so they can meet that commitment, but watch for signs that they may need a bit more sleep.

Lack of sleep for kids can cause irritability and hyper types of behavior. It can aggravate a condition like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) worse.

Teens

Most teens need about 8½ to more than 9 hours of sleep each night. The right amount of sleep is essential for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play sports without tripping over their feet.

Adults

For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need a little less and or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual. The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid.

Seniors

People tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans as they get older, although they generally need about the same amount of sleep as they needed in early adulthood. About half of all people over 65 have frequent sleeping problems, such as insomnia, and deep sleep stages in many elderly people often become very short or stop completely. This change may be a normal part of aging, or it may result from poor sleep hygiene or medical problems and from the medications and treatments for those problems. If your sleep patterns are changing, talk to your doctor.

 

Learn more about sleep and the Mid Coast Sleep Disorders Center

 

 

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