Getting enough sleep is an important part of your health, and if you cut your slumber short, it can affect your health in ways you never imagined. Here are some common questions about sleep and why you should make sure you get enough of it, plus six tips on how to fall asleep fast.
Q: How many times a day is your body programmed to feel sleepy?
A: Two. The human body is programmed to feel tired two times during a 24-hour day, no matter how much sleep you got during the previous 24 hours. These sleepy times are between midnight and 7 a.m. and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
Q: What age group needs to get 13 hours of sleep per night?
A: Preschool-aged children. Sleep requirements vary from person to person and from age to age. Preschool-aged children need to sleep 11 to 13 hours per night. Newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day, and school-aged children (up to age 12) need 10 to 11 hours. Adolescents need about 9 hours of sleep per night, and most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Q: Adults need less sleep as they grow older, true or false?
A: False. As we age, we don’t need less sleep, but our ability to sleep deeply for long periods of time often decreases. Elderly people often have difficulty sleeping due to many factors such as health problems, pain, disturbances from light, noise, etc.
Q: You spend about half your sleeping hours dreaming, true or false?
A: False. The average person spends about two hours dreaming each night, which is 20-25% of a night’s sleep. Some researchers think dreams are a byproduct of sleep, while others believe they’re important for regulating our mood, solving problems, and reducing stress.
Q: Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of nightmares, true or false?
A: True. Nightmares occur more often when you are stressed or anxious, and you are more likely to have them during the last third of the night. They are more common among children than adults.
Q: You can perform complex activities such as driving a car, moving furniture and eating while sleepwalking, true or false?
A: True. While sleepwalking, you can do anything from sitting up in bed and appearing as if you’re awake to performing complex things such as moving furniture, going to the bathroom, eating, and in rare cases, driving a car. Sleepwalking is more common among children, and it appears to run in families with a history of sleepwalking.
Q: Is driving while drowsy similar to driving while intoxicated?
A: Yes. Driving while you are sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Researchers found that it’s similar to driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08. The problem is most prevalent among men aged 16 to 29, people who work irregular hours, and people with untreated sleep apnea.
Q: If lose sleep one night, you can’t make it up by getting more sleep the following nights, true or false?
A: False. If you don’t get adequate sleep, which is typically 7 to 9 hours per night for adults, you will accumulate a “sleep debt.” It is possible to pay off a sleep debt of a few hours by getting extra sleep during the following week. However, if your sleep debt continues to grow, you will increase your chances of having an accident or injuring yourself.
Q: Can inadequate sleep contribute to weight gain?
A: Yes. Several studies have found that inadequate sleep or sleeping poorly can affect appetite controls and lead to overeating and weight gain. Sleep loss has also been linked to decreased insulin sensitivity and increased risk of diabetes.
Q: Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss have been linked to heart problems, high blood pressure and stroke, inflammation and stress, true or false?
A: True. Sleep disorders can contribute to heart conditions, while heart problems can also interfere with quality of sleep. Poor sleep has also been linked to high blood pressure and stroke. Inflammation and stress also play a role, such as with sleep apnea where pauses in breathing during sleep and low oxygen levels can stress the body and promote inflammation.
Q: When is insomnia considered to be chronic?
A: Chronic insomnia is determined when a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for a month or longer. Acute insomnia can last for a few nights to a few weeks.
Q: With sleep apnea, how many breathing pauses can occur per hour?
A: Thirty or more. Breathing pauses with sleep apnea often occur from five to more than 30 times per hour and they can last from a few seconds up to a few minutes. This fitful sleep can make you feel extremely tired during the day. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which is usually caused by a collapsed airway or blocked airway during sleep. Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, morning headaches, irritability, memory and concentration problems, and a dry throat when you wake up. Most people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it, and it’s common for it to go undiagnosed.
Q: There are two states of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). How many stages of NREM are there?
A: Four. The first state of sleep is NREM sleep, which includes four stages: light sleep, onset of sleep, and two stages of deep, restorative sleep. The eye muscles are relaxed during these stages. The second state of sleep is REM, which includes rapid contractions of the eye muscles. Both states of sleep are necessary in order to achieve quality sleep.
6 Tips on How to Fall Asleep Fast
Poor sleep can affect everything from your job performance and sex life to your overall health. In women, it has been linked with hostility, depression, and anger, as well as increased risks of diabetes and heart problems. Here are six simple suggestions on how to fall asleep fast and get the sound sleep you need:
- Only go to bed when you are really sleepy.
- Don’t use your bed for anything but sleeping. Don’t read in bed, watch TV in bed, eat in bed, etc. One exception to this rule is sex; you can still have it in bed.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get up and go into a different room. Stay up as long as you want and then go back to bed. If you still can’t fall asleep immediately, get up and go into another room again. The goal is to associate your bedroom with falling asleep quickly. Repeat this step as often as needed throughout the night.
- Set your alarm clock to wake up at the same time every morning regardless of how much sleep you got the prior night. This helps your body get a consistent sleep rhythm.
- Don’t nap during the day so you’ll be able to fall asleep quicker at night.
- Take an all-natural sleep supplement such as Healthy Choice Naturals Sleep Well Naturals which contains an exclusive blend of herbal ingredients that have been shown to be effective, natural sleep aids. Sleep Well Naturals is a safe, non-addictive solution for those suffering needlessly with sleep problems.