Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? You may be suffering from a sleeping disorder. Sleeping disorders affect millions of people around the world. Find out what causes them and how to treat them!
Quick Jump Table
How Many Hours of Sleep we Need?
Lack of sleep has led me to make many poor decisions: I’ve fumbled at work, eaten an extra meal, forgotten important birthdays and, on over one occasion, worked through a terrible headache. I never attributed these mistakes to lack of sleep until recently, when I rediscovered its true value.
Sleep makes people happy, productive, and more energetic. But the lack of it can contribute to a string of health problems: weight-loss, high blood pressure, lower immunity and low productivity.
Does Sleep Affect Weight Gain?
According to the weight management expert, “Quantity and quality of sleep have a direct impact on weight management. Many studies have showed that lack of sleep can cause an increase in the ghrelin to leptin ratio (appetite controlling hormones). This increases appetite and also ups cravings, especially those for high carb foods. Lack of sleep also triggers fatigue, a disinterest in exercise, lowers your metabolism and leads to weight-gain.”
How much sleep do we think is enough is debatable, but how much sleep we should actually get isn’t? The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF), a non-profit dedicated to promoting healthy sleep, released a study that gave recommendations on how much sleep do people of different age groups actually need.
The research was led by a team of 18 leading scientists and experts from organisations like the American Academy of Paediatrics, American Association of Anatomists, etc. The panellists took part in rigorous scientific process that included reviewing over 300 current scientific publications and voting on how much sleep is appropriate through a person’s lifespan.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
- Newborn (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Pre-schoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School-age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
The sleep foundation said that they cannot pinpoint the exact amount of sleep people of different age groups need, but they can define a limit. In the meantime, it’s also important to look at individual needs and assess how we feel with varying amounts of sleep. Some questions outlined were: Are you productive, healthy and happy in seven hours of sleep? Are you experiencing sleep problems? Do you feel sleepy while driving? Are you at the risk of any disease?
So ask yourself these questions before deciding on a number that works for you.
You snooze, you lose! Disturbed sleep isn’t necessarily an outcome of less sleep. If research is to be believed, snoozing that gives you an extra few minutes to sleep could also be what’s disrupting your mind, making waking up more difficult. When you snooze, you’re essentially plunging your brain back to sleep, only to be woken up again. This makes waking up harder than it already is and may leave you disoriented.
According to researchers, the time difference between when you’re supposed to wake up and when you wake up is known as ‘social jet lag’. It doesn’t always question of duration but of timing. Are we sleeping in the time frame that our bodies require us to? Those who don’t sleep enough are at the risk of weight gain and a host of other problems. The ones who get more sleep than required are also susceptible to heart disease and other risks. So it’s important to figure out how little is too little, how much is too much and keep it up to lead a healthy, more positive life.
Snoring Could Be Sign of Sleeping Disorder
Snoring may not be harmless and having a drink before sleep may not help improve sleep quality, it in fact, may give way to poor habits. A group of researchers busted about 20 common myths around sleeping and made some startling revelations.
The study was published online in a Sleep Health journal. The study said that people who claim that they can go on through the day with just five hours of sleep are, in fact, exposing themselves to serious health risk and long-term sleep deficits.
“Sleep is a vital part of life that affects our productivity, mood, and general health and well-being,” said study lead investigator Rebecca Robbins at New York University Langone Health. “Dispelling myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits which promote overall better health,” she added.
For the study, the researchers reviewed over 8,000 websites to identify the 20 most common assumptions about sleep. The team comprised many notified sleep experts who ranked the assumptions based on whether they can be classified as myth and which of these could be supported with actual scientific evidence. They also spoke about the potential harm associated with the myths.
Scientists also dispelled some common mistakes about snoring. Mild snoring is harmless but if you are a loud snorer, you must consult a doctor as it may be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.
These disrupted sleep behaviour may also lead to heart stoppages or other illnesses. The study authors also said that drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is indeed unhealthy for sleep.
“Sleep is important to health, and there needs to be greater effort to inform the public regarding this important public health issue,” noted the study senior investigator Girardin Jean Louis.
Robbins and her colleagues suggest creating a consistent sleep schedule and spending more time, at least seven hours, asleep.
What are Sleep Inducing Foods?
Your diet plays a determining role in your sleep quality. You should not eat too close to bedtime. You should not eat sugary treats late in the evenings too, they prevent your brain from powering down. You should look for foods that are rich in tryptophan that help stimulate production of serotonin. Serotonin helps calm the brain. Look for foods that are rich in magnesium, they are muscle relaxing.
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