Summer can arguably be the best season of them all, especially here in the high country. Welcoming rays of sunshine entice you to walk through these hilly terrains to take your breath away. Although the great exchange for a crisp mountain breeze to fill your lungs with the best Carolina air is priceless. If only a portion of vacation’s rest could carry over into the fall and winter seasons, then it would be perfect. This month is the best chance to further train your summer body and improve in one’s sleep hygiene. According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost 30% of the adult population report sleeping in shorter durations (six or fewer hours of rest each night). This public health concern can lead to increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause morbidity (Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019). Hence, the demand to enhance one’s sleep quality remains at chief priority in hopes to reverse these unfortunate results.
As we all need some sort of time reset and rejuvenate the purpose of sleep is largely misunderstood. Some believe sleep’s true intention may be for memory consolidation, restoration, or even energy conservation. Some much takes place during the four stages of sleep, yet our main goal remains to only target criteria of time to rest to quantify it as sufficient. Specifically, the target time frames vary with lifetimes as infants should aim for 16-18 hours daily, young adults – adults seven to nine hours maximum, and those 65 years or older seven to eight hours daily. Other factors outside of duration do contribute to a better quality of sleep as well and may reduce wake times throughout the night or delay sleep onset (Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019).
Do you struggle to fall asleep after going to bed? Try practicing a routine before placing your head to a pillow, and be sure to adhere to a schedule. Attempt to awaken within the same hour each morning and use a journal to log your durations if necessary. For those tempted by a daytime nap, be sure to limit it to a half-hour at most before sleep inertia settles. Otherwise known as a period described as a diminished sense of alertness and decreased cognition after waking. One of the best and most beneficial routines to train your body to easily attain sleep is to exercise!
The importance to improve bodily health is impeccable, but failing to give attention to sleep hygiene may reverse those goals recently achieved in the gym. Always strive to sleep your appropriate duration and set your surroundings so that you may have the best potential rest. Relax and exercise and repeat so you may embrace long term health for lifelong bliss.
Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 12, 2019
Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 10, 2019
By: Javari Crowther