The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, lifestyle, and overall health. In general, most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need more or less sleep, depending on their individual needs.
But not all sleep is created equal. There’s deep sleep where REM sleep occurs, which is incredibly valuable to our bodies, health, and productivity, and it only occurs after you’ve already been asleep for a few hours.
Let’s learn how to get more optimal sleep in our lives, shall we?
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Factors That Affect Your Individual Sleep Needs
- Age: Newborns need the most sleep, up to 17 hours per day. As children get older, they need less sleep, with teenagers needing about 8 to 10 hours per night. Adults typically need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Older adults may need slightly less sleep, around 7 to 8 hours per night.
- Lifestyle: If you are active during the day, you may need more sleep than someone who is less active. People who work night shifts or have irregular sleep schedules may also need more sleep.
- Overall health: People with certain health conditions, such as chronic pain or sleep disorders, may need more or less sleep than people who are healthy.
Negative Consequences of Insufficient Sleep at Night
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed reaction time
- Increased risk of accidents and injuries
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Decreased immune function
If you are concerned that you are not getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine how much sleep you need and develop a plan to improve your sleep habits.
What are the best times to sleep?
The best time to sleep is during the hours when your body is naturally most relaxed and ready for sleep. This is usually between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. However, it is important to find a sleep schedule that works best for you and your individual needs.
How much REM sleep do you need per night?
REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep. It is the stage of sleep where most dreaming occurs. During REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly from side to side, the heart rate and breathing increase, and the muscles become paralyzed. This is thought to be a time when the brain is consolidating memories and processing emotions.
In adults, REM sleep typically makes up about 25% of total sleep time. It is more common in infants and young children, who may spend up to 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep. As people age, the amount of REM sleep decreases.
Why REM Sleep is So Important
- Memory consolidation: REM sleep helps to consolidate memories, which means that it helps to strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain that are involved in memory.
- Emotional regulation: REM sleep helps to regulate emotions, which means that it helps to balance out the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that are involved in mood.
- Creativity: REM sleep helps to promote creativity, which means that it helps to generate new ideas and solutions to problems.
If you don’t get enough REM sleep, you may experience a number of problems, including:
- Impaired memory: You may have trouble remembering things that you have recently learned.
- Mood swings: You may feel irritable, anxious, or depressed.
- Reduced creativity: You may have trouble coming up with new ideas or solutions to problems.
How to Fall Asleep Faster
Here are some additional tips that may help you fall asleep faster:
- Try progressive muscle relaxation: This technique involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body. It can help to promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Get a comfortable bed: I know this seems like a given, but with the abundance of choices in affordable bedding online, it’s not always easy to pick a great eco-friendly memory foam mattress. But do your due diligence and don’t chooose a mattress for a swindling at the local mattress shop!
- Use visualization techniques: Visualize yourself in a peaceful and relaxing setting. This can help to distract your mind from racing thoughts and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Count sheep: This may seem like a cliche, but counting sheep can actually be a helpful way to fall asleep. It can help to focus your mind on something other than your worries and make it easier to drift off to sleep.
- Listen to calming music: Calming music can help to relax your mind and body and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Try aromatherapy: Aromatherapy uses essential oils to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Some essential oils that may be helpful for sleep include lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang.
- Use a white noise machine: A white noise machine can help to block out distracting noises and create a more peaceful environment for sleep.
- Sleep with a weighted blanket: Weighted blankets can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can make it easier to fall asleep.
- See a sleep specialist: If you have chronic insomnia, a sleep specialist can help you identify the underlying cause of your sleep problems and develop a treatment plan.
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