If you’re waking up each morning fatigued or groggy, or find that you’re irritable throughout the day, it could be that you’re not getting enough sleep. While it seems that some people can function well on just a few hours of sleep, others people need a long night’s sleep to feel their best in the morning. So, how much sleep do we really need?
What the Research Says
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. The Foundation asserts that teenagers need slightly more sleep than this nightly (8.5 to 9.25 hours). Toddlers and children of preschool age need between 11 and 14 hours of rest nightly. Of course, infants require the most sleep, and should get between 12 and 18 hours of sleep each day/night. While these are the general time ranges that each age group requires for sleep, it’s important to remember that the exact amount of hours each individual needs to receive what is considered a “good night’s rest” varies based on the individual.
How to Improve your Sleep
Feeling well-rested when you awake each morning is both a matter of getting enough sleep and ensuring that you have quality rest throughout the night.
One of the best things you can do is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends and time off from work. This puts your body on a schedule that prompts more fulfilling sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you don’t drift off to sleep within 15 minutes of lying down, get up and engage in a relaxing activity, like drinking a cup of tea or reading a book. When you feel tired, lie down again.
Finally, creating your own ritual(s) for bedtime can improve sleep as well. You may want to spray a little lavender oil on your pillow so you can breathe in the soothing aroma as your body winds down, or take a bath in warm water before getting into bed. The Mayo Clinic also asserts that you shouldn’t leave the TV on when you’re trying to fall asleep, as the lights and activity on the screen can interrupt your natural sleep pattern.