The National Sleep Foundation notes that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Such a sleep schedule may be ideal, but many adults juggling work and family find it difficult to get seven hours of sleep per night, much less eight or nine.
While there may not be any way for adults to get more sack time at night, there are ways for men and women to get a better night's rest so they can approach each day with as much energy as possible.
• Stick to a schedule. Keeping a sporadic sleeping schedule can make it difficult to get the kind of restorative sleep that can help you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day. To ensure you get a better night's sleep, go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day. Try to stay true to your sleep schedule on weekends, resisting the temptation to sleep in later or stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights.
• Nap effectively. Men and women who have the time to sneak in a nap may find that napping is a more effective way to make up for inadequate sleep than sleeping in late in the morning. Effective napping allows men and women to recharge without affecting their ability to fall asleep at night. Napping in the early afternoon and keeping nap time to between 20 and 30 minutes can provide the energy boost you need and help you make it through the after-dinner hours without feeling drowsy. Such drowsiness can lead to post-dinner periods of dozing that can make it difficult to fall asleep come bedtime.
• Adopt a nighttime ritual. The NSF notes that a relaxing nighttime ritual that is noticeably different from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your day can help your body adjust for sleep, increasing the chance that you will get a more restful night's sleep. Relaxing ways to unwind before climbing into to bed to fall asleep including reading a book, listening to calming music or taking a warm bath. Once you find something that works, stick with it.
• Find time to exercise. Studies have shown that men and women who exercise regularly benefit from more restful nights' sleep. Finding the right time to exercise is essential, as many people find that exercising right before bed elevates their heart and stimulates their body in ways that make it difficult to fall asleep. Exercising in the early morning can provide more energy throughout the day, and come bedtime your body might be more ready to fall asleep. However, if you find yourself exercising at the expense of your sleep, try to find another time to get your workout in.
• Ensure your bedroom is sleep-friendly. The NSF recommends maintaining a relatively cool temperature between 60 and 67 F in your bedroom for sleeping. In addition, eliminate any potential distractions, such as light and noise, that can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep. Humidifiers, eye shades or even machines that generate white noise can effectively counter any distractions that you cannot get rid of on your own.
A good night's sleep is essential to human health. Men and women struggling to get adequate, beneficial sleep can employ a host of strategies to improve their quality of life.