FAQs about Healthy Sleep.

The answer varies considerably across age groups—and from person to person. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep. However, infants generally require about 16 hours of sleep per day, while teenagers need about 9.
The cumulative effects of sleep deprivation are broad yet potentially serious. Experts believe that sleep is necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate. The consequences can range from diminished job performance to driver fatigue, which accounts for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents annually.

In addition, certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, have been linked to a number of medical conditions, including depression, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Generally, if you feel drowsy during the day, you haven’t had enough sleep. The same is true if you fall asleep within five minutes of lying down. Micro sleeps, or very brief periods of sleep in an otherwise awake person, are also warning signs of sleep deprivation.
The elderly don’t experience more sleep problems, but they do experience different ones. Sleep studies show that men and women over the age of 40 experience frequent problems with deep sleep, also known as REM. Therefore, they tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter periods of time. Plus, insomnia tends to be a bit more prevalent among older adults.
Some of the tips for better sleeping include:
  • Going to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. This helps establish a steady sleep cycle.
  • Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day. For maximum benefit, workout about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.
  • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Smokers tend to wake earlier due to nicotine withdrawal and alcohol diminishes deep sleep (REM).
  • Relaxing before bed. A warm bath, reading or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Reading, watching television or listening to music if you can’t sleep. The anxiety of lying in bed and not being able to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.

Do daytime naps affect my sleep?

  • If fatigue or sleepiness is the reason for nap then you may be sleep deprived
  • Limited naps can be a very powerful way to improve performance and lessen fatigue
  • Long naps may interfere with sleep at the “regular” time and cause insomnia and change or fail to reinforce circadian rhythm negate hormonal and endocrine functions of sleep