How much is enough sleep?
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation found that we spend up to one-third of our lives asleep.
While we all know that getting a good night’s rest is important, rarely do we get the amount of sleep we truly need. In addition, drinking coffee and energy drinks can interfere with our ability to sleep. Our natural sleep/wake cycle can also be disrupted due to our obsession with mobile devices and other environmental factors.
Eighteen leading scientists and researchers came together to form the NSF’s expert panel. The team was tasked with updating the official sleep recommendations. The panelists included six specialists and representatives from leading organizations. They participated in a rigorous scientific process. The panelists reviewed over 300 scientific publications and voted on how much sleep is appropriate throughout the lifespan.
Make Sleep a Priority
To pave the way for better sleep, the NSF first recommends you try effective healthy sleep tips:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Exercise daily.
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
- Turn off electronics before bed.
If you or a family member are not sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or find a professional to determine the underlying cause. Symptoms that can appear include:
- sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert
- leg cramps or tingling,
- gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep,
- prolonged insomnia
Finally, try using the NSF Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period. Take the results to your physician .
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