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By: Jackie Edwards 

July 12, 2018 

 

While sleep plays a vital role in your health and well-being, many underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest. According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show that 45% of Americans lack sufficient quality sleep on a daily basis. As one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States, insomnia affects 1 in 3 adults at some point in their life. Without proper rest, your body will be at risk of increased tension, irritability, and overwhelming stress.

The lack of sleep can lead to daily fatigue, causing you to exercise less and continue the vicious cycle of inactivity. Researchers believe that having a good night’s rest can improve memory and longevity, boost creativity, reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance, control your weight, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, how much sleep do you actually need? 

Importance of Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult gets six hours of snooze per night. Researchers believe that individuals should aim their target amount according to age as follows:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants – Toddlers (4 months - 2 years): 12-15 hours
  • Preschool - School Age Children (3 – 13 years): 12 hours
  • Teenagers – Young Adults (14 – 25 years): 8 hours
  • Adults – Senior Adults (26 – 65+ years): 7 hours

The foundation’s recent report in Sleep Health shows that quality sleep relies on genetic, environmental, and behavioral conditions. These factors help determine how much rest an individual needs for optimal health and daily performance.

Habits That Affect Sleep Quality

Experts from BMC Public Health reveal that following poor habits in bed can also affect the quality of your sleep. Such behavior can change your room’s association with relaxation to other unhealthy activities including using your bed as a home office, not keeping the sheets clean, and using the wrong mattress based on your needs. This will reduce its image as a comfortable place to rest and “get away from it all.” However, there are ways you can re-master the way you snooze. You must first understand the importance of quality versus quantity. In fact, the key is to train the brain by creating positive habits, such choosing a mattress that will fit your needs, using your bed only for sleep, installing dark curtains, and eliminating noise.

How Poor Sleep Quality Affects Your Health

According to studies from Harvard Medical School, researchers claim that missing as little as 1.5 hours of snooze can have a major impact on alertness. Not only will it affect your ability to think and process information, it can make you feel moody and irritated. As a result, you will become more prone to conflicts with others, less likely to participate in daily activities and even put your health at risk.

Therefore, if you continue to go without quality rest, you may experience long-term health problems in the near future. In fact, some of the most vital snooze problems may lead to a higher risk of heart attacks, chronic sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions.