How to Get Better Sleep: Part 1

There’s nothing like waking up after a good night of sleep, feeling well-rested and ready for the day.

Unfortunately, that’s apparently not happening for one-third of U.S. adults, who report that they wake up after less than the recommended amount of sleep, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are one of the sleep-deprived, you’ll want to read our two-part series on the importance of sleep and how to improve your nightly slumber. In Part 1, we look at why sleep is so important for our health and wellbeing. In Part 2, we offer realistic strategies to improve your sleep habits.

More sleep tips!

Protips on How to Sleep Better at Night

Sleep Matters

Getting good sleep is a biological necessity humans need to maintain good health. Sleep allows the body and mind to rest and repair, and not getting enough sleep has been linked to serious health problems, including:

High blood pressure

Your blood pressure goes down during normal sleep, but sleeping problems can mean that your blood pressure stays higher, and for a longer period of time. High blood pressure is a leading risk for heart disease and stroke.

Type 2 diabetes

Poor sleep has been associated with diabetes, and better sleep with improved blood sugar control.

Obesity

Studies have also shown that lack of sleep could impact the part of the brain that controls hunger, leading to weight gain.

Depression

Researchers have long seen a relationship between depression and poor sleep. Sleep disruptions can affect the body’s stress system, increasing the likelihood of depression, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Poor mental function

We all know that groggy, foggy feeling from not sleeping well. Sleep helps maintain cognitive skills, such as attention, learning, and memory, as well as the ability to cope with stress, according to Columbia Psychiatry News.

Accidents

Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work. Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by 70 percent, and drowsy driving accounts for 1 in 5 fatal motor crashes, the National Sleep Foundation reports.

How Much Matters

Hopefully, you’re now convinced of the importance of sleep. But how much sleep is enough? The CDC has issued recommendations by age:

Age

Sleep Duration

Infant (4-12 months) 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Toddler (1-2 years) 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Pre-School (3-5 years) 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
School Age (6-12 years) 9-12 hours per 24 hours
Teen (13-18 years) 8-10 hours per 24 hours
Adult (18-60 years) 7 or more hours per night

It’s a myth that you need less sleep as you age, and trouble sleeping can be the result of bad sleep habits that develop at any age, according to the National Institute on Aging. But there are some conditions related to age that can interfere with sleep, including menopause and sleep apnea, which is more common among older adults.

What’s Keeping You Up?

Sleep disorders are conditions that, no matter how hard they try, prevent people from getting enough quality sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. They include:

Insomnia

When you have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep—is one of the most common sleep disorders and can leave sufferers feeling exhausted during the day.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with sleep apnea snore loudly or gasp for air during sleep (and, if you sleep with a partner, you may have already heard the complaints). As a result, people with sleep apnea may notice daytime sleepiness.

If you think you might have a sleep disorder, check out our tips in Better Sleep: Part 2 to learn more about good sleep hygiene. But if you feel you may have a serious sleep disorder, make sure to talk with your health care provider.

374 Comments
  • Juan A Marrero
    Posted at 22:37h, 29 April

    Thank you very much for your information.

  • Rodney Hairston
    Posted at 15:00h, 29 April

    Thanks for the info

  • Ella Rollins
    Posted at 12:53h, 28 April

    Interesting

  • Maribel. Ramirez
    Posted at 00:08h, 27 April

    Great article I have been working on getting more sleep

  • Jennifer Price
    Posted at 15:57h, 26 April

    Very good article thank you.

  • betty cirbes
    Posted at 11:24h, 26 April

    thanks

  • Denise Dunn
    Posted at 14:39h, 25 April

    Thanks

  • LEESA HUTCHINS
    Posted at 11:02h, 25 April

    THANK YOU

  • Shirley Gregory
    Posted at 06:48h, 25 April

    Thank you

  • Marilyn
    Posted at 22:53h, 24 April

    Very informative thank you.

  • Juan A Marrero
    Posted at 22:10h, 24 April

    This is a very good informative article.

  • Maria Puma
    Posted at 16:33h, 24 April

    I have sleep problems. I even cut out all caffeine. It’s helped a bit

  • Michal Veneman
    Posted at 16:19h, 24 April

    Thanks

  • KYLE HARPER
    Posted at 10:18h, 24 April

    Good read

  • Norman Dyer
    Posted at 09:07h, 24 April

    Good information thanks

  • Ronald Lewis
    Posted at 23:37h, 23 April

    It’s hard to get right sleep with 2 jobs

  • Juanita Barnett
    Posted at 16:17h, 23 April

    I definitely need my sleep or I’m worthless! Thank you!

  • Latroyne Bennifield
    Posted at 14:43h, 23 April

    Great info

  • Paula Stevenson
    Posted at 13:33h, 23 April

    thanks

  • June Rhyne
    Posted at 12:21h, 23 April

    Thank you

  • Joanne Strauss
    Posted at 11:33h, 23 April

    Helpful information.

  • Miguel Cotto
    Posted at 11:09h, 23 April

    Thank you

  • Shawna
    Posted at 10:48h, 23 April

    Thanks

  • Chevelle D Johnson Brown
    Posted at 10:40h, 23 April

    I sleep less than 7 hours every night except on Friday and Saturday.

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