We know it’s hard to complete the 8 hours of sleep. With so many things going on in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, plus the distractions brought by your smartphone and social media, snoozing is becoming a tedious task. Heck, sometimes, you just skip sleeping altogether just to be able to complete a deadline or finish your suties at work.
But then, we must remember that we spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, so it’s just right to give special attention to it. If you’re one of the many who take snoozing for granted, it’s not yet too late to start anew. But before hwading to bed, it's important to know just how much sleep one really needs.
According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, here’s how much sleep you need to get at every age:
For newborns (0 – 3 months): 14 to 17 hours
For infants (4 – 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
For toddlers (1 – 2 year olds): 11 to 14 hours
For pre-schoolers (3 – 4 year olds): 10 to 13 hours
For grade school-aged children (6 – 13 year olds): 9 to 11 hours
For teenagers (14 – 17 year olds): 8 to 10 hours
For young adults and adults (18 – 25 year olds): 7 to 9 hours
For older adults (26 – 64 year olds): 7 to 8 hours
“Sufficient sleep duration requirements vary across the lifespan and from person to person. The recommendations reported here represent guidelines for healthy individuals and those not suffering from a sleep disorder,” says the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep durations outside the recommended range may be appropriate, but deviating far from the normal range may cause serious health problems. “Individuals who habitually sleep outside the normal range may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of serious health problems or, if done volitionally, may be compromising their health and well-being.”
If you’re having trouble reaching the advised hours, we asked the Philippine Society Of Sleep Medicine to give us some tips on how to not just sleep, but sleep well.
1) Prioritize sleep
Just like setting an alarm for your wake-up call, you should also set one for your bedtime, and you should stick to it.
2) Darken your bedroom
Your body is programmed to sleep when it's dark, but since you can't control the sun or that streetlamp from shining outside, the best thing you can do to encourage your body to go into “sleep mode,” is to darken your bedroom. Use dark curtains or even an eye mask. A dark and quiet room is essential for a quality, good night sleep.
3) Cut down on caffeine
Experts recommend that you should stop drinking caffeinated drinks about six hours before going to bed. A rule of thumb: don't consume caffeine after 5 PM.
4) Practice deep slow breathing
Here’s an easy exercise for you to do:
Exhale through your mouth.
Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 counts.
Hold your breath for 7 counts.
Exhale for 8 counts.
Repeat the sequence 3 times.
5) Use visualization
Apparently, counting sheep does work. You can also counts dogs, or cats, or think about something that relaxes you, whatever works for you.
6) Write your thoughts in a journal
To silence your mind from whatever you are thinking, experts advise that you write everything that’s bothering you in a journal, and place it on your bedside table afterwards. In that way, you’ll shut off your mind and think of sleep instead.
7) Move more during the daytime
In short, tire yourself out. Consume your energy in the daytime—take a walk, exercise, etc. This will not just make you physically and emotionally healthy, but you’ll also be sleeping soundly once you hit the bed.