In our fast-paced, technologically advanced world, a good night’s slumber can be hard to come by. Sleep is an essential part of our well-being and health however, according to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than ⅓ of American adults are not getting enough rest regularly.
Why Do We Sleep?
There are many theories behind the purpose of sleep, but we can all agree on its essential function. Resting through the night is necessary for:
- Energy conservation. Sleep allows us to reduce our caloric needs and spend time functioning at a lower metabolism
- Cellular repair and growth necessary for muscle repair, tissue growth, and hormone release
- Healthy brain function/plasticity. Sleep impacts our ability to learn, problem solve, make decisions, focus, and concentrate, and it contributes to memory function.
- Emotional well-being
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Insulin function
- Organ health
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Everyone’s individual needs are unique however, according to the CDC, the recommended amount of rest depends on your age:
- Individuals 13-18 years of age require between 8-10 hours of sleep per night
- 18-60 year-olds require approximately seven or more hours of sleep per night
- Individuals 65 years and older require 7-8 hours of sleep per night
What Happens If We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Just like if we don’t eat enough food, if we don’t get adequate rest, our bodies can have difficulty functioning properly. Some of the negative side effects of chronic sleep deprivation include:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
- Increased fatigue
- Decreased concentration and ability to focus
- Impaired tissue healing
- Mood changes
What Are Some Healthy Sleep Habits?
If you are experiencing difficulty getting rest, a few easy, at-home tips to implement include:
- Keeping a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week
- Set a bedtime
- Limit exposure to bright lights in the evenings. Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- Limit daytime naps
- Create a relaxing and quiet bedroom environment
- Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine before bed
- Use your bed for rest, avoiding doing homework or work in bed
- Increase physical activity throughout the day
- Stress management
If you think that you may be experiencing a sleep disorder, it is best to seek care from a sleep specialist. Discussing your rest habits and quality is an essential part of holistic care that we incorporate here at Evolve Physical Therapy.
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- 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published February 16, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2022.
- Nunez K. Why do we sleep? Healthline. Published July 20, 2020. Accessed June 7, 2022.
- CDC – how much sleep do I need? – sleep and sleep disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published March 2, 2017. Accessed June 7, 2022.
- Healthy sleep habits. Sleep Education. Published April 2, 2021. Accessed June 7, 2022.