Sleeping Well

Are you getting enough sleep each night? See how many of the signs below describe you. This will give you a good idea of whether or not you need more sleep.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested during the day. Failing to get enough sleep can severely affect your health and perform­ance.

Signs You Need More Sleep

  • You’re dependent on an alarm clock. You should be able to wake up on time without a morning alarm. Hitting the snooze button a couple times before getting up is a clear sign of sleep loss.
  • You’re drowsy while driving. Falling asleep at the wheel is a sure sign that you are too tired. It’s also dangerous—drowsy driving is a common cause of deadly auto accidents.
  • You’re attached to the coffee pot. A cup of coffee to start your day is fine, but you shouldn’t have to drink coffee all day to stay awake.
  • You’re making mistakes. It’s harder to focus and concentrate when you are tired. You’re easily distracted and you’re less likely to catch and fix errors.
  • You’re forgetful. Sleep loss may explain why you have a hard time remembering things. Sleep deprivation hinders short-term memory.
  • You’re cranky, snippy and irritable. Being tired can have a negative effect on your moods. It makes you more likely to feel depressed, anxious and frustrated.
  • You’re frequently getting sick. Without sleep your immune system is not at full strength. It’s harder for your body to fight illness.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends following a regimen of “sleep hygiene” to help you stay healthy by keeping your mind and body rested and strong. Follow these tips to help you sleep better and feel your best:

  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and a little bit cool. An easy way to remember this: it should remind you of a cave. While this may not sound romantic, it seems to work for bats. Bats are champion sleepers. They get about 16 hours of sleep each day. Maybe it’s because they sleep in dark, cool caves.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you are not sleepy at bedtime, then do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music or browse through a magazine. Find something relaxing, but not stimulating, to take your mind off of worries about sleep. This will relax your body and distract your mind.
  • Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed. This can include such things as a warm bath, light snack or a few minutes of reading.