The average koala bear sleeps for 22 hours per day. Human babies’ typical sleeping time is 16 hours, or 2/3rds of the day, giving true meaning to the phrase, “sleeping like a baby.” But what about you? Three hours? Five? Maybe you sleep for seven hours but wake up feeling unrested. If you are having sleep difficulties, you are not alone. Over 50% of adults report past or current sleep difficulties. Common problems include sleeping too much, trouble falling asleep, and waking up in the night.
What Is a Good Night’s Sleep?
Many of us think we’re getting adequate sleep but really aren’t. The amount of sleep you need to be at your best is as an individual as the amount of food you need. It isn’t simply how many hours of sleep time you’re logging in that matters, but how good you feel and how well you’re able to perform each day.
Individual sleep needs vary considerably from person-to-person and also depend on a number of external factors such as motivation and mood. Some people need 6 hours or less, but others require up to 9 hours to feel wide awake and to function at their peak level. However, quality of sleep — which includes keeping regular sleep schedules, proper exercise, and nutrition — is as important as quantity.
How Can Sleep Habits Improve Your Sleep?
One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to replace a poor sleep routine with an environment and schedule that promotes sleep. Sleep expert Dr. Richard Bootzin developed a technique known as stimulus control to help people with insomnia, which involves several sleep habit instructions. The main goals of the stimulus control technique are to fall asleep quickly and to stay asleep.
These goals are achieved by:
- Developing a consistent sleep schedule.
- Strengthening your mind’s connection of the bed and the bedroom as a place for sleep
- Weakening the mind’s link of the bed/ bedroom as a cue for stimulating activities that might interfere with sleep (like studying, watching TV, eating, etc.).
In addition to implementing Dr. Bootzin’s sleep habits, practicing proper sleep hygiene may also help to improve your sleep. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
- Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night
If sleep still eludes you, if your mind is on a never-ending chase from one thought to the next, or if nightmares prevent you from enjoying a restful night sleep, contact our sleep therapists at Thriveworks in Wilmington today. Stop counting sheep; let us help you find the restful night sleep you deserve! (910) 247-4818