We would all like to be experts in getting the perfect amount of sleep, but how much do you really know? The answer might shock you.
Ask anyone and they will tell you that getting enough sleep (but not too much) is important. Ask how much sleep is needed though, and you will probably get as many different answers as the number of people you ask. The fact is, not many people know exactly what is right for getting the perfect amount of sleep and even if they do, it is hard to meet that number of hours when life seems to get in the way.
Why Do We Need to Sleep?
Getting the right amount of sleep is an issue with those in the United States and has become a health problem that is hard to fix. Good sleeping habits help our bodies in a number of ways — one being our heart. Our blood pressure lowers during sleep and allows heart to get the rest it needs. Studies have shown that getting less than six hours of sleep each night may raise the risk of stroke or heart attack.
There are any number of other reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep. Heath issues such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome are just a couple of problems that some people experience that cuts into their sleep time.
Even if you do have other factors affecting your sleep, the tips in this article will help you sleep better by knowing what to choose when it comes to your sleep environment.
Your Sleep Environment
Part of getting the right amount of sleep is having the right environment surrounding you. Your bedroom should be your own private sanctuary where you have the ideal area that allows you to get quiet, peaceful sleep.
- Temperature. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for comfortable sleep is a brisk 65 degrees. This has been researched but your own comfort level may vary a degree or higher or lower.
- Sounds. Unwanted noises make it harder to sleep. Many people need white noise in order to sleep more peacefully, which is sound that lowers background sounds. A window fan works well as white noise but if that is not possible, some people opt for a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to listen to. While some people listen to quiet music or ocean sounds, some find that difficult to use because they are actively listening for certain variations in the sound such as a crescendo in the music or a repeat of the waves.
- Light Pollution. It is no secret that a dark room is ideal for the best way to get a good night’s sleep. Since we have an internal clock, sometimes we are awakened before we want to due to the light in the room. Light from outdoors, electronic equipment, other rooms, and other sources make it harder to sleep. Try to cut down on the light by using room-darkening shades or curtains and making sure light from other sources does not enter your room.
- Smell. Don’t forget your sense of smell when it comes to getting sleep. Fresh, laundered bedding gets you better rest and some people enjoy a slight lavender scent or something similar in order to sleep well.
Your Bed Matters
When it comes to getting the right amount of sleep, your bed and bedding matters. We’ve all heard horror stories about a bad mattress but it is really true what they say; maybe you’ve even had a bad mattress that makes your back hurt or doesn’t allow you to get enough rest. When it comes down to it, your bed is one of the most important parts of a good night’s sleep and here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing your bedding.
- Mattress. The mattress you choose should feel right as well as have the price you want and durability to last you for years. You’ll want to know that it has the support you need, allow your body weight to be distributed equally, allow for a neutral temperature, and respond to changes in position or motion. One of the most important factors is the firmness – if your mattress is too soft then pressure is applied to certain areas on your body and your spine will bow down. If it is too hard then it is not contouring to your body and will cause certain pressure points around your body and cause your spine to bow the opposite way – upwards.
- Pillows. Make sure your pillows are thought of similarly to the mattress you choose. One that is too soft doesn’t support your neck and you will sink down while you try to sleep. One that is too firm may cause your neck to be sore since it doesn’t allow any conformity.
- Comforters and Blankets. Your comforter or blanket needs to be the right material and weight for a good night’s sleep. Blankets and comforters that are too heavy may make you hotter than you should be and feel uncomfortable. Too light and you may get chilled. The material is important as well. You do not want anything scratchy or uncomfortable against your skin. For those with allergies, it may be best to stay away from down comforters or those with the ability to emit allergens that will irritate your allergies.
- Sheets. Much like comforters and blankets, your sheets help you rest more comfortably. Sheets should feel nice against your skin without feeling scratchy or rough. High thread count sheets made out of Egyptian cotton are ideal but not everyone has those in their budget since they can be higher in price. However, you can still find sheets that work with your budget and feel good against your skin.
What is the Right Amount of Sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following chart describes the ideal amount of sleep based on age. This varies a bit from person to person since some people need more sleep based on their health. However, this is a good list to go by when deciding how much sleep you need to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
As you can see, sleep is important and the right amount is just as imperative to our health and well-being. Too little sleep or restless sleep leads to irritability, drowsiness, and health issues that affect our daily lives.
The right environment leads to better sleep and the right mattress is part of that environment. To learn more about what our mattresses can do to get you a good night’s rest, please contact your local Urban Mattress store.