I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I felt rested. Not only do I not get enough sleep, but the quality of my sleep seems poor.
And I don’t have an explanation for it because I eat well, workout, meditate, have low stress, etc. all the things one can do to help sleep-life.
But what I do know is that I need to figure this out because getting sleep is paramount to energy, mood, overall health, and quality of life.
Getting good sleep ensures optimal brain function. While you’re sleeping, your brain forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
According to a Harvard study, poor sleep habits can actually lead to developing certain chronic diseases, not to mention they limit our effectiveness in the world. Being “busy” and being “effective” are not the same thing.
A professor at Harvard University named Charles Czeisler recommends the following sleep schedule for optimal health, according to the different stages of life:
- Newborn (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours.
- Babies (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours.
- Children (1-2 years): 11 to 14 hours.
- Preschool (3-5 years): 10 to 13 hours.
- School age (6-13 years): 9 to 11 hours.
- Teens (14 to 17) : 8 to 10 hours.
- Youth (18-25 years): 7 to 9 hours.
- Adults (26-64 years): 7 to 9 hours.
- Seniors (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours.
That being said, this is meant to be a general target because everyone has their own individual needs and genetics.
These are the main reasons for sleep problems:
Sleep problems can be a result of two main reasons – Stress and Technology.
Stress: Cortisol, also called the ‘stress hormone’ is released by stress. And in the case of increased level of cortisol, it can have a high impact on the feelings of well-being and also hinder restful sleep.
Technology: In order to have a good sleep the body releases melatonin. And the brain cannot release the needed amount of melatonin in the light emitting excessive technological devices. If we are in the dark, we enable the body to release more melatonin, which in presence of the light of televisions, laptop and cell phones is stopped.