Time Change & Sleep Awareness For Our Health
Sleep Awareness Week is recognized annually as NSF’s premier awareness and education campaign to celebrate sleep health and engage the public to prioritize their sleep. For over two decades, NSF has featured Sleep Awareness Week to promote the benefits of healthy sleep and its importance to overall health and well-being. Sleep Awareness Week begins on March 14 at the start of Daylight Saving Time, when most Americans lose an hour of sleep. The change to Daylight Saving Time reminds us to make beneficial changes in our sleep routines to improve our sleep health. The negative effects of too little or too much sleep aren’t just physical—they can also interfere with your mental health. Your outlook, mood, and attention span all depend on getting the right amount of sleep, and without it, your job performance (not to mention your personal life) can suffer.
Improve Your Sleep Quality – 10 Sleep Tips
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. It’s important for your body to have a regular sleeping schedule.
- Set a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to calming music, reading a book or taking a warm bath.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool. Your body temperature naturally decreases to initiate sleep. A bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit helps promote sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet. Turn off noisy distractions such as a TV. Silence unwanted noise with earplugs or use “white noise,” such as from a fan, sound machine or an app.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark. Use blackout shade to block out unwanted light and dim the lights on your digital clock.
- Sleep on a mattress and pillows that are comfortable and supportive.
- Finish eating meals 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly. A low-impact fitness program, like walking, swimming or yoga, is helpful for managing pain and stiffness and improving sleep.
- Try to limit how many caffeinated products you consume in the afternoon.
- Alcohol and nicotine in your body can disrupt sleep and can cause nighttime waking. For optimal sleep, skip them close to bedtime or altogether.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need?
Sleep is essential to feeling rested and alert. Getting the right amount for your mind and body feels great and helps you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. Every person is different when it comes to the exact amount of sleep that’s optimal for them, but most people fall within a range, depending on their age. These guidelines can help you determine how much sleep you really need, while providing some easy ways to achieve it. There is no precise number of minutes or hours of sleep at night that guarantees you will wake up feeling totally refreshed. But based on your age and lifestyle, what’s recommended for you likely falls within a certain range. To help yourself stay alert during the day, try sticking with these guidelines.
Newborns: From 0-3 months, babies need between 14 and 17 hours of sleep. This includes daytime naps, since newborns rarely sleep through the night. Older infants (4-11 months) need about 12 to 15 hours of sleep each day.
Toddlers: Between the first and second year of life, toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep each night.
Children: Preschoolers (3-5 years) should get 10 to 13 hours, while school-age kids (6-13 years) should strive for nine to 11 hours each night.
Teenagers: As kids get older, their need for sleep decreases slightly. Teens (14-17 years) require about eight to 10 hours of nightly sleep.
Adults: Between the ages of 18 and 64, adults should aim for seven to nine hours of nightly sleep. If you’re older than 65, you may need a little less: seven to eight hours is recommended.
Healthy sleep begins with two natural internal processes that help keep our bodies on track. The first process increases our need to sleep the longer we are awake. The second process, the circadian rhythm, runs on a 24-hour cycle where we feel most awake during the day and sleepiest at night. This circadian process is strongly influenced by light. The timing of the circadian rhythm can vary from person to person. This is why we have “night owls” and “morning larks.”
Generally, children have the earliest circadian timing of all age groups with a need to be asleep earlier in the evening. Teenagers and younger adults have the latest sleep schedule making early bedtimes and waketimes particularly challenging for this age group. Older adults tend to shift back to an earlier sleep-wake schedule. Although each child and parent may have their own bedtime preference, spending timing in natural light and establishing a day and night routine can help to promote healthy sleep.
National Sleep Foundation Prepares for Sleep Awareness Week® 2021 | National Sleep Foundation (thensf.org)
Making Time for SLEEP | National Sleep Foundation (thensf.org)
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? | National Sleep Foundation (thensf.org)