For many people, there is no bigger pain in the entire world than the sound of an alarm clock rousing them from a deep, restful sleep. Do you get up and hit the snooze button?
But perhaps the bigger question is … how much sleep do you really need?
The amount  of sleep that is enough is the amount that results in you feeling fully rested and alert. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults sleep 7-9 hours per night, teenagers sleep 8.5-9.5 hours per night, and kids ages 5 to 10 sleep 10-11 hours per night.

Oversleeping May Be Just As Bad As Not Getting Enough Sleep!

Interestingly enough, sleeping over 9 hours a night can lead to many of the same health problems as sleeping too little. Long sleepers are at risk for obesity type 2 diabetes, back pain, depression, and heart disease. If you awaken before your alarm clock and you feel rested, go ahead and get up to start your day.
People with irregular work schedules which lead to irregular sleep patterns may also experience health problems.
In a nutshell, the proper amount of sleep is critical to maintaining health.

Tips for getting restful sleep

If you’re the type of person who has trouble getting restful sleep, here are some tips:

  • Regular Exercise is often helpful to improve sleep. Some experts recommend you try exercising earlier in the day, while others believe that exercising in the evening before bed is preferable. Since there is no consensus, see what works best for you. Stress and anxiety can affect sleep and exercise has been shown to help relieve stress.
  • Try to avoid eating for at least 3 hours before bed. Eating before bed may trigger acid reflux or an upset stomach, all of which can hinder sleep. However, a warm glass of milk may help you fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking before bed as they can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Take a hot bath, shower, or sauna before bed. This raises your body temperature, and the process of cooling off promotes sleep.
  • On the same note, keep the bedroom a bit cool.
  • If you are having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something else. Don’t linger in bed and worry about not being able to fall asleep.
  • Turn off ALL the lights. Complete darkness (or as close as possible) is best. Even the smallest amount of light in the room can disrupt your internal body clock and your body’s production of melatonin and serotonin.
  • Consider a “sound machine.” Listen to the sound of white noise or nature sounds to drown out distracting background noise and soothe you to sleep.
  • Increase your melatonin.  If you can’t increase this brain hormone level naturally by exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and total darkness at night, consider supplementation.
  • Try to sleep a consistent number of hours each and every night.

Last, but certainly not least, health conditions like back pain or neck pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Be sure to have your back checked at our office if you suffer from pain at night.
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