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How much sleep do we really need?

In these unprecedented times it can be difficult to stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule. It raises the question… How much sleep do we really need?

According to a study that ran over two years at the US National Sleep Foundation, the amount of hours of sleep needed can vary between different age groups.

Adults should aim for more than 6 hours, but less than 10. Older adults (65+) are advised to get no less than 5 hours of sleep and no more than 9 hours.

This being said, we are all different in our sleep needs. Both sleep deprivation and oversleeping could lead to a range of serious health concerns.

Tips to help with your sleep:

  • Increase magnesium in your diet. This can help with muscle tension and stress. Insomnia and restless leg syndrome may be a symptom of a magnesium deficiency.

  • Keep daytime naps less than 30 minute (10-20 minute nap seems to be the sweet spot!)

  • Keep a consistent sleeping routine.

  • Engage in daily exercise. Be cautious with high intensity exercise late at night.

  • Get into the sun! Sunshine may play a role in regulating hormones and sleep patterns by affecting the melatonin circadian rhythm.

  • Minimize alcohol intake and avoid caffeine late in the day.

  • Avoid ALL electronics for at least one hour before bedtime.

  • Create a comfortable sleep environment. Incorporate relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga.

If you are consistently having trouble with your sleep, or you are waking up exhausted and lacking energy, it may be sign that you have a clinical sleep problem and you should discuss this with your doctor.

Sleep well!

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