May 17, 2017

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

If you’re asking yourself “How much sleep do I need?”, then the answer is ” it depends!”.. The answerSleep as a vital function involved in helping your journey to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep is an essential part of every individual’s well-being. You must have come across thousands of online articles regarding how much sleep you really require while the articles usually conclude with 5 hours, 7 hours and 8 hours of sleep as recommended by experts. But these opinions are too generalized to follow and don’t apply to every person.

Bidding goodbye to the required amount of sleep, in literal terms, is inviting and being a host to a series of unwanted diseases. Read on to find how much sleep do you really need to be fit and fine.

Sleep constraints vary on the basis of the different age groups we fall in. That’s right—a newborn requires about 14 hours to 17 hours of sleep whereas a teenager requires to clock around 8 hours to 11 hours of sleep daily.

Different age groups have different characteristics, duties to perform, energy levels, different strengths of the immune system and accordingly sleep hours have been defined to suit them.

How much sleep you need, according to age groups

A teenager has more energy as compared to a senior citizen, and as mentioned above, these factors effectively define required sleeping hours according to age groups. Below is a compact guide, mapping out points defining sleep requirements according to age groups:

  • Senior citizen (age above 65 years)—A senior citizen is recommended about 7-8 hours of sleep. 5 to 6 hours of sleep is also considered as appropriate.
  • Working group adults (20-64 years)—The minimum requirement has been defined at 6 hours. However, the recommended sleep bracket stands at 7- 9 hours.
  • Teenagers (13-19 years)—The optimal number of hours of sleep required by a teenager is 8 hours to 10 hours of sound sleep. The minimum requirement stands at 7 hours, which is also considered as appropriate.
  • School-going children (6-12 years)—The recommended sleep requirement is 8- 11 hours of sleep.
  • Pre-school children (3-5 years)—For children going to pre-school, the experts have recommended about 10 to 13 hours of sleep every night.
  • Toddlers/Infants (3 months to 3 years)—A toddler requires 11-14 hours of sleep for growing up healthy. Infants, on the other hand, require about 12-15 hours of sleep, although 16-17 hours may also be appropriate.
  • Newborn (0-3 months)—Newborns require the maximum hours of sleep around 14-17 hours. Experts have considered 18-19 hours of sleep as an appropriate number of hours for newborns.

The sleep pattern is related to the growth requirements of every individual as he or she grows older in terms of age. You can see how sleep requirements gradually decrease over an individual’s lifespan. This a clear sign by your aging body and hence you need to clock in the required amount of sleep as recommended.

Sleeping hosts many health benefits

Sleeping hosts a number of health benefits thereby boosting an individual’s growth and energizing him. As mentioned above, avoiding sleep is bound to get you trapped in a series of unhealthy habits including lower immunity strength, slower tissue repair and you might become more passive and also less energetic.

A few of the key benefits of sleeping can be elaborated as follows:

  • Improves quality of life
  • Helps you to be more creative
  • Improves memory
  • Lowers levels of Inflammatory proteins
  • Curbs stress

Other key benefits of sleeping include improved attention span, higher levels of energy help to effectively deal with mental illness, including depression, and also helps the individual be more active in carrying out various activities.

Tips to follow for a sound and peaceful good night’s sleep

There are certain tips that you can follow in order to sleep peacefully at night. You can take certain steps in order to create a suitable environment for you to sleep. These tips are here to enhance your routine daily activities with minimal effort.

The very first step towards a peaceful good night sleep is enhancing and customizing your diet. You need to efficiently time your dinner 3 hours before sleeping. Sleeping with a heavy stomach is bound to disrupt your sleep pattern.

There are certain food items that you need to avoid before going to bed which includes coffee, liquor and junk food, greasy and oily foods. You also need to avoid going to bed with an empty stomach.

When it is said that you shouldn’t bring your office back home, it is quite true as it truly affects your sleeping patterns. You need to make your bedroom a welcoming haven for sleeping peacefully. De-cluttering your bedroom is the initial step that you need.

Avoid working on your laptop, eating, doing homework on your bed—you need to use your bed only for sleeping. Clean your room daily and maintain your mattress. Also, consider getting a new mattress if the old one is worn out and not comfortable enough to sleep on.

The next step you need to follow is setting up a calm sleeping environment. You need to use comfortable pillows for better sleep and also for preventing neck cramps. Avoid using tech devices right before going to sleep. Turn down all the lights and sleep in the dark for optimum sleep and for improving the quality of your sleep.

The last step for sleeping peacefully through the night is taking a shower. This helps you relax and attain quality sleep.

After reading as to how much sleep you really need, the key benefits of sleeping, and also certain tips to enhance your sleeping patterns, you can improve your quality of sleep. Further sleeping for the recommended number of hours is bound to improve your heal

Can’t sleep? Nine Things Not To Do Before Bedtime

How many times have you tossed and turned in bed and just can't sleep? Have you ever wondered if you might be doing something wrong, something that is preventing you from getting the sleep you so need? Here is a short list of things that you should watch out for so you can enjoy a good night’s rest. This list will help you realize what you might be doing wrong, and if you get until the end of the list, we are sure you’ll sleep like a baby tonight.

1. Do not sleep at different times each day

Do you have a habit of dozing off at 10 p.m. on one night and 3 a.m. the next? This could be the reason you can't sleep. Erratic sleep timings on a daily basis can cause sleep to be erratic as well and ruin it.

Try to plan your days in a way that you sleep within a one-hour window each night and wake up the same way next morning. Sleeping at very different times over long periods, like weeks or months, can permanently damage your sleep quality.

2. Do not interact with screens before bedtime

We now live at a time where we have bright tube lights in each room and various screens, be they TV, computer, Kindles or smart phones, staring back at us at all times. Have you ever noticed how texting at night in the dark gives you a ghostly glow? That blue light is an artificial light. Can't sleep? These artificial light sources trick the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thus keeping us awake, even if it is 11 p.m.

This is especially true for children. The video below talks about how children on devices before bedtime sleep less than children who don't have devices near them.​

By carefully toning down the amount of visual stimulus you come across, especially by shutting off all electrical devices at least one hour before bedtime and using low-intensity night lights, you can say goodbye to can't sleep and say hello to can sleep!  

Still can't sleep? Use an application like f.lux which reduces the amount of bad blue light coming from your devices. How much bad blue light can f.lux remove? Check out this f.luxometer by typing in your preferred device that you use at night.

3. Do not do different things each night before sleeping

Doing varied things before bedtime, for example, playing video games two days a week, watching football a day after, going for a late night drink on the weekends and reading a book the rest of the days could be ruining your sleep.

Night time rituals, small recurring things you do before going to bed each day can prepare your brain for sleep. If your brain is ready, the rest of your body will follow, ensuring you fall asleep faster and better. Reading a book each night (it’s easy on the eyes), or taking a walk each night can train your brain to get drowsy before bedtime.

Remember when you were a kid your mom probably used to put you to sleep by singing you a lullaby each night? Or reading a book to you? She did it because she knew that by hearing her voice or her sing, your brain realized it’s sleepy time, sending you into a deep slumber. Her voice was the trigger. It signalled it's sleepy time. before getting into bed may have been a couple of actions as part of sleepy time ritual - brush your teeth, get dressed into your pajamas, say goodnight to dad and so on. 

Create and embed your own triggers and rituals to encourage a good night's sleep.

4. Do not drink or smoke before turning in for the night

We love a good drink or a cigarette after a long day just as much as you do. However, these pleasurable habits might lead to sleep-related downfall. Alcoholic drinks, some fresh brewed coffee or cigarettes all mess with your neurochemicals, which can damage your sleep cycle and trick your brain into staying up.

Staying off all these substances, and instead consuming some bananas, milk or peanuts can help a lot as these substances tend to induce sleep. They may not be as good as a cigarette, but we think we’d rather sleep than smoke.

5. Do not use your bed for something other than sleeping

Your bed is meant for sleeping and sleeping only. Studying, listening to music, texting people or reading on the bed might be comfortable, but it confuses your brain as to what a bed is for.

If you use your bed only for sleeping and nothing else, every time you go to bed, your head automatically assumes it’s time to sleep and prepares your mind and body for a good night’s rest. Again it's another trigger. Your mind connects the bed to the activity of sleeping, and so prompts it.

6. Do not sleep on a poor-quality or allergen-ridden mattress

Poor quality mattress

Discomfort caused by a bad bed can clearly push sleep away. Mattresses with bumps or dips in them, mattresses made of poor material, bed frames that make too much noise when you move, mattresses which heat up too much or have a nylon or synthetic material covering can all make you the sleeper uncomfortable.

Got a bed with bumps and dips inside? Have a read of my post called the 6 Reasons To Replace My Old Mattress.

Make it a priority to buy a good bed, nice pillows, and comfortable blankets. This investment can go a long way toward sound sleep and great mornings.

Allergen-ridden mattress

What you need to consider here is another type of discomfort - a mattress or bedding that makes you sneeze, wheeze, cough, scratch or get a headache. This is because there is something in your mattress that you are allergic to or just makes you uncomfortable.

This can include scratching yourself silly because of dust mites, bed bugs or because you shouldn't be sleeping on a wool, latex or topper made from synthetic materials.

can't sleep - dust mite bites
Dust mite bites. Image source.

This can include mattresses made with 100% synthetic materials that give off gases as well as harmful toxins and chemicals and affect your breathing or give you that headache. Did you know there are 7 Health Hazards Inside Your New Mattress You Should Have Known About?

3 things you need in a mattress

When you are shopping for your next mattress, keep these 3 things in mind to optimize your sleep:

  1. Comfort
  2. High-quality materials (all about what's inside your mattress)
  3. Affordability.

The trick is to balance or reach a compromise on all 3 to get your perfect mattress.

This blog is all about mattresses that are higher quality than your average mattress that are affordable as well. Make sure to look around!

7. Do not watch a scary movie right before bed

It’s tempting to watch scary movies in the middle of the night for that added fear factor. Alas, doing so might make result in a scary meeting with the boogeyman instead of a pleasant drowsy meeting with the Sandman.

This is something I do and I always regret. It all started with that movie "Silence of Lambs"!​

Horror movies can trigger anxiety in you that can carry itself until the time you sleep and disrupt it. This may put your body into fight or flight mode, which would make it impossible to sleep. What’s worse it may even prompt nightmares and make sleep a scarier proposition.

Watch, or preferably read something light or funny before sleep. Meditation is another known way to reach more fulfilling sleep.

8. Do not exercise or listen to loud music before bed

Thanks to busy schedules, many choose to work out in the evenings or at night. This simply pumps your body up for more activity, which directly conflicts with sleep, which is a relaxation undertaking. Loud music has the same effect on the mind and simply gets your body ready for more action.

Working out in the mornings, or at least 4 hours before sleep, or trading that for some light yoga or relaxing instrumental music can work wonders on your sleep cycle.

9. Do not sleep in temperatures too hot or too cold

Regulating the temperature around you as you sleep is key to getting a healthy dose of shut-eye. If you are too warm, your body sweats a lot, and if it is too cold, it shivers. Both of these bodily functions can make it impossible to rest.

The optimum way to sleep would be to sleep in an environment that is a little colder, and wrap yourself in a blanket that makes the temperature just right.

If You Can't Sleep, Change What You Are Doing Now

Which of the nine Sleep Stoppers are keeping you awake at night? How will you change up what you're doing now to get a better sleep? 

Sleep is sometimes the most coveted experiences for a person, and also the most easily obtainable. Small little things that you do can hinder your ability to go into a deep slumber each night.

So take care of these points before you get to bed at night.








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