Lost sleep can add up. The average adult should be getting at least seven hours of continuous sleep. For every hour below this number, you’re collecting sleep debt. And you’re not alone.
Among American adults:
63 % - say they’re not getting enough sleep
37% - say they are so tired during the day, it interferes with their normal activities
75% - experience at least one symptom of a sleep disorder a few nights a week or more
It can take up to four hours of makeup sleep to recover from one hour of missed shut-eye. So it’s important to stop sleep debt in its tracks. Left alone, it can lead to long-term problems like:
High blood pressure
Adult onset diabetes from high blood sugar
A weakened immune system
An increased risk for accidents at work or behind the wheel
Heart disease and stroke
Mental health issues
But, with some lifestyle changes, you can reverse it.
Start with a bedtime routine where you go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day.
Make sure your sleep space is comfortable — from the mattress and bedding to lighting, sound and room temperature.
Don’t bring work, technology or other distracting activities into the bedroom.
Finish meals and workouts 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.
You’ve had one, maybe two late nights and are feeling it. Get your groove back by:
Bumping up your bedtime by an hour or two the next few nights.
Waking up a little later for a few mornings.
Taking an afternoon nap. Depending on your need, a 20-minute power nap or 60- to 90-minute nap works best.
Sleep is a way to restore and re-energize your body and mind. At some point, everyone runs into a tough night and that’s okay. Just rest easy and try to get back to your sleep routine the next night.
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