Most adults need 8 or 9 hours sleep to function well.
Anything less than that, and you are likely to be running up a sleep debt, and there is a always price to be paid for that later on.
Some people push themselves hard and try to get by on 6 hours or less. Others may want to sleep longer, but they suffer from insomnia. Either they can’t fall asleep easily, or they wake in the middle of the night or far too early.
Self-medicating with alcohol can assist people in getting to sleep but the effects wear off, usually around 1-3 AM when they wake and can’t get back to sleep. Even the sleep they got earlier was not deep, restorative sleep.
Over 50 million prescriptions for sleep medications were dispensed last year, and becoming dependent on these types of drugs requiring more and more over time, is common. Then you’re stuck with the original problem plus two new problems: drug dependency and unwanted side effects.
So what can you do to promote better sleep?
- exercise earlier in the day
- get fresh air and sunshine
- avoid caffeine and tobacco
- cut down on alcohol
- eat earlier in the evening
- have light evening meals
- turn off the TV or computer
- make a list of tomorrow’s tasks
- develop a routine
- have a long hot soak in a bath
- drink a chamomile tea
- stop drinking fluids two hours before bed
- read with a small book light
- play gentle relaxing music
- listen to an audio book
- meditate in a darkened room
- make a small herbal sleep pillow to put near your bed or in your larger pillow
- get room temperature right (most people sleep better with a cooler room)
If your sleep problem does not improve or is a chronic problem, consider seeing a healthcare professional.