By Erica Sommer, DPT
We all know that we need to strive for adequate sleep to function in our daily lives. We can feel fatigue, agitation, and overall exhaustion creep in when we are not sleeping well. However, “adequate sleep” is going to look different for everyone based on differences in physiology, activity level, and overall health, to name a few factors.
The “normal” range of required sleep per night (or day) for healthy adults is anywhere from 7-9 hours. Sleeping more than 9 or less than 7 hours per night is not necessarily a bad thing; this may just be where your body functions best.
Ever notice how on a day when you are feeling under the weather, your body craves sleep in a way that it typically does not on a day when you are feeling well? This is because all kinds of healing, restorative, and regulatory processes take place when we are sleeping.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep plays a role in the regulation of our immune systems, which help us to fight off infection, as well as our cardiovascular system, metabolism, hormone production and/or release, and overall cognition and alertness. Lack of sleep can manifest in more ways than one, and it generally goes beyond just “feeling tired.” You may begin to feel physically ill or have difficulty concentrating on usual daily tasks.
Sometimes, we go to bed with every good intention of getting our 7-9 hours of snoozing, but still are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. Listed below are some basic tips to help achieve a good night’s rest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
It is understandable that it is sometimes impossible to achieve this 7-9 hours of sleep daily, depending on current life circumstances. However, if possible, sleep should be a priority when thinking about improving overall health in the same way that you would prioritize a healthy diet and exercise.
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