• Tami Bruskotter

Post #4 Go to Bed!

Ah, your mother was right...not getting enough sleep will affect every system in your body and every part of your life.

Of course, our minds and bodies rest while we're asleep, but it’s also when actual physical restoration takes place. Inflammation and pain levels rise with a lack of sleep. Everything from getting over a cold to recovering from surgery is dependent upon sleep. It's when the body works hard to repair muscles and remove plaques from the walls of our veins. The immune system can't function without it. Sleeping also removes waste in the brain, gives our minds time to process and respond to the day's events, makes memories, and set us up to properly function the next day. And if you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, sleep helps with appetite regulation and metabolism.

How much sleep do you need?

Here are the latest guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation:

Newborns – Newborns need 14 to 17 hours per day.

Infants –Infants should get 12 to 15 hours of sleep daily.

Toddlers – Your toddler must be able to sleep for 11 to 14 hours every day.

Preschool – Make sure that your preschooler is asleep for 10 to 13 hours a day.

School age – School-aged children should get 9 to 11 hours.

Teens – Teenagers, 8 to 10 hours of sleep to feel energized and revitalized, and less cranky

Young adults to adults – During these age brackets, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is great.

Older adults – Older people may have a harder time falling asleep since their sleep habits change over time. Still, they need to have at least 7 to 8 hours of rest time.

What about naps? Do they make up for the sleep we don't get at night?

Talking about teens to adults here...the patterns for infants to school age children are a bit different. So in general, no. Naps DO add to the overall amount of sleep, but DO NOT add to the quality. The short duration of a power nap (10-30 mins) will give you a bit of alertness but doesn't allow for the important repairing stages of sleep and REM sleep to kick in. And a long nap (1-3 hours) will get you to those stages, but it can lead to a lingering grogginess and throw off nighttime sleep quality, duration, and timing.

If you're like me and enjoy a good nap, it's the short one that's usually recommended (10-30 minutes). Make sure that you have a restful place to lie down and that the temperature in the room is comfortable. Try to limit the amount of noise heard and the extent of the light filtering in. Recovering from illness or injury? Go for the longer nap, but be aware of your timing. If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep. Often, just quietly resting without actually falling asleep can still help the body heal and can give the same mental & emotional benefits as meditation. Guess Mom was also right when she gave you a time out.

So tonight, when you feel like squeezing in just one more episode of that show you're binge-watching...STOP, turn off that device, and go to bed.

You can always watch it at work, right?!

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