When asked if they’re getting enough sleep most busy adults would respond to this question with a loud, resounding "no!" And they’re probably right. Today’s busy lifestyles make it almost impossible to get the sleep you need to function at your best.
How much sleep do you need?
Most sleep experts will tell you that there really is no magic number when it comes to how much sleep you should get. Much of it depends upon your age and the state of your overall health.
It also can vary from person to person. For example, one 50-year-old woman may need eight hours to function at her best, while another 50-year-old woman can easily get by with just six hours of sleep. In fact, a 2005 study confirmed the fact that sleep needs vary and the study calls for further research to identify traits within genes that may provide an explanation of why sleep needs differ among individuals.
Perhaps rather than concentrating on the amount of sleep we get, we would be better served if we concentrated on the quality of our sleep. "Good" sleep is critical to your health and longevity.
Sleep provides your brain with an opportunity to rest and prepare for the next day. It also supports your body in its ability to look and feel its best.
The National Sleep Foundation provides the following eight tips for getting restful, restorative sleep each night:
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
- Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
You can also supplement with a good sleep aid product. You want to look for one that contains an ample amount of L-Tryptophan. L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is highly valued for its unique ability to convert into serotonin. It’s the only substance that can do this and is considered "essential" because our bodies cannot manufacture it.
Supplementing with L-Tryptophan is so important because by increasing your serotonin levels helps you’re also increasing your chances of getting a good night’s sleep – every night.
Some studies suggest that sleeping eight hours or more each night could be worse for you than sleeping between 7.5 and 6.5 per night. The debate continues, but the important thing is that you get the sleep you need to wake feeling rested, restored, and ready to take on the challenges of a new day.