A lack of sleep seems to be a common denominator in most of our lives, especially since this fast-paced lifestyle that we follow is a hugely inhibiting factor in letting us catch a few winks at night. Sleep disorders dominate quite a few lives, and the stress from the entire day often poses a hurdle in our sleep cycle. After that exhausting day at work or school, all you want to do is snag some shut-eye, but numerous daily obligations get in the way of this.
How Many Hours Should We Sleep?
Even if you do manage to go to bed at some point, you probably sleep for not more than two to three hours, before work calls force you to wake up again. This leads to most of us being groggy and exhausted in the morning, making us wish the day would end before it has even begun. So, how do you ensure that you get an adequate amount of sleep and find yourself all charged up in the morning?
How much sleep do you need?
The optimal amount of sleep can one’s body needs in order to maintain a sense of stability in its functioning fluctuates throughout their aging process. As a child, we might need to sleep for major parts of the day, but the hours slowly cut down as we grow up (albeit most of us wish we could run back to get 17 hours of sleep a day!). Along with the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics devised a simple chart that shows the average number of hours of sleep that a person in a particular age group requires. This chart segregates into age groups such as birth to 3 months of age, 4 to 11 months, 1 to 2 years, and so on. As we move up in age brackets, the number of hours of sleep decreases. That being said, people within the same age group can also require different hours of sleep. For example, you might know someone who functions on barely six hours of sleep, whereas your body might require a good nine hours of sleep, in order to feel well-rested. This depends on various factors such as activity levels, caffeine consumption, et cetera.
Calculating sleep time
Your bedtime should be calculated after taking into consideration a few factors such as how many ninety-minute sleep cycles are to be completed (preferably five to six), the time that you wake up, as well as a fifteen-minute concession period for you to fall asleep. For example, if you wish to wake up at five am, then you must go to bed at 9:15 am in case you want to complete at least five sleep cycles, that is, 7.5 hours. However, if the wake time is kept constant and the number of sleep cycles has to be increased to six, then you must go to bed at 7:45 pm since this sleep cycle consists of nine hours. In the same manner, you can chalk out your bedtime by doing some simple math regarding how many sleep cycles you wish to complete and how many minutes it takes for you to fall asleep.
How to adhere to such sleep times?
Setting a sleep time and following it to the minute may not always be viable, especially if your daily schedule is an unpredictable one. However, making such a routine is necessary in order to establish a normal circadian rhythm. Moreover, it helps you get an adequate amount of sleep if your bedtime fluctuates but the waking hour remains constant. Listen to calming music, exercise regularly, get rid of electronic gadgets a few hours before going to bed, and limit your caffeine intake during the second half of the day in order to promote better sleep.
Determining your bedtime can be done in a few easy steps after taking into consideration a couple of important factors. If a nine-hour sleep schedule is too much for you, then stick to the one that needs 7.5 hours, but ensure to follow it religiously if you want to wake up relaxed and rejuvenated. Don’t forget to make allowances for the period it takes to fall asleep as well, since most of us find it difficult to catch some shut-eye immediately.