When you miss a good night’s sleep, you probably noticed you were a bit sleepy, maybe forgot something important, or you were a bit cranky. But getting the right amount of sleep can be tricky. By the end of this post you'll understand why we need a good night's sleep and how to get it.
How a lack of sleep affects us
If you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you're sleep-deprived. If you fall asleep in less than 10 minutes, or more than 20 minutes, or if you hit the snooze button more than twice you’re sleep deprived.
There are two main ways a lack of sleep affects us:
When you lose sleep your mental game is off. The biggest symptom of sleep loss is daytime sleepiness, depressed mood, poor memory, or concentration. It’s also hard to control your emotions.
Getting enough sleep is important. People with poor sleep are:
You're 10 times more likely to get depression.
You're 17 times more likely to get anxiety.
|You're 7 times more at risk for addictions.||
You're 20 times more at risk for panic attacks.
While poor sleep overtime has no formal diagnosis, it does have an impact on our physical health including autoimmune disease, heart disease, obesity, cognitive impairment, and you age your brain faster. If you’re losing sleep it’s hard to manage your weight, you start to have cravings for high-calorie foods, resisting that delicious donut just got harder!
A lack of sleep affects your skin, you may notice puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. If you’re chronically missing sleep it can cause fine lines, dark circles under the eyes, and skin collagen gets broken down, which helps keep your skin smooth and elastic.
How much sleep do you need?
When we wake up rested, make healthy decisions when it comes to our diets, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. And when we’re tired, we’re less motivated, have less energy, and make poor decisions that lead to heart disease and weight gain.
A good night’s sleep means you’re able to fall and stay asleep for about 7 to 9 hours and on average 7.5 hours for the average adult from ages 20 to late 60s. As we age your sleep problem will get worse. Children and teens need 10 to 12 hours a night. You should wake up feeling rested and be able to remember your dreams.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep over a long period of time, you’re suffering from insomnia.
How to improve your sleep
Sleep doesn’t discriminate. There are a few things you can do to try to sleep more.
Catch up on sleep: If you can’t get enough sleep during your workdays, try catching up on sleep every week by sleeping in on your days off and taking 30-minute naps.
Stick to a sleep schedule: Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, have a good bedtime routine
Create a daytime routine: Avoid caffeine in the evening, go for a walk, make sure you get your daily light, avoid alcohol, create a to-do list so you’re not overthinking, and drink water.
Create a nightly routine: Minimize your use of blue light, stay off your phone, turn off the TV, do things to unwind like meditate, or take a bath or shower.
Improve the environment: Use dim lighting, fresh sheets, maintain a cool room temperature, try white noise music, blackout curtains.
If you’re still struggling with sleep, talk to your doctor about it or your pharmacists. Your doctor can refer you to sleep clinics. They’ll monitor your sleep overnight and be able to determine your quality of sleep, such as waking up through the night and can make a plan for you.
Avoid over-the-counter sleep medication since it has a hangover the next day, causing drowsiness as a side effect and confused thinking as you can’t think clearly.
Melatonin is our body’s natural sleep hormone, it helps you fall asleep by regulating your circadian rhythm. A lack of melatonin means you have sleep problems. You can take supplements for melatonin but don’t rely on it, as your body can start to depend on it and may stop your body from producing melatonin. So if you do take melatonin, take breaks from using it so your body can learn to fall asleep naturally.
Natural ways to improve sleep without medication
Weighted blankets can help reduce the use of sleep medication prescriptions (apart from melatonin) or they can be used with sleeping pills to improve your sleep further.
Studies have also shown that a weighted blanket helps people relax before bed, have a night of more restful sleep with fewer disturbances, fall asleep faster within minutes, and sleep 1 to 3 hours more at night, improving their overall sleep quality.
Shop our weighted blankets to help you sleep naturally.
Frequently asked questions about sleep
How many hours of sleep do I need?
On average we need 7.5 hours of sleep for the average adult ages 20 to late 60s. You should be able to fall and stay asleep for about 7 to 9 hours.
How many hours of sleep do teenagers need?
Children and teenagers need about 10 to 12 hours of a sleep a night.
How long should I nap?
You can catch up on sleep by taking 30-minute naps throughout the week.
Is melatonin bad for you?
If you take melatonin your body can start to rely on it, and it can stop your body from producing melatonin.