If we aren’t well rested, it can weigh us down physically, mentally, and emotionally, but there are some simple actions we can all take to improve our sleep.
The optimal sleep duration requirement is largely determined by heredity, however, large surveys show the average sleep duration for an adult is about 7 to 8 hours. Technically sleep specialists suggest you should have between 6.68 and 10 hours per night.
What is good quality sleep?
Three elements of good quality sleep are:
- Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day.
- Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation.
- Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.
To find out more on good quality sleep and how to get it check out The Sleep World Society Podcast Series – The Sleep Forum.
Sleep and work
Sleep loss can make it more challenging to maintain focus, attention, and vigilance. People who are sleep deprived are also more likely to make errors and omissions, partially due to increased reaction times. Working while under slept can leave people feeling more irritable, angry, and vulnerable to stress.
Principles of good sleep
Following the top 10 tips below can help to prevent poor quality nocturnal sleep, short duration of sleep, fragmentation of sleep and serious sleep deprivation in adults.
- Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
- If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
- Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
- Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
- Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.