Donna Taylor, LMT
Certified Integrative Health Coach
Illinois Bone & Joint Institute
Health coaches are often asked, “How much sleep should I be getting a night?” To answer this, we need to not only look at what the recommended number of hours are for your health, but also what lifestyle factors may be contributing to the quality and quantity of your sleep.
The National Sleep Association (NSA) recommends 7–9 hours for ages 26–64; and 7–8 hours for those 65 and older. According to the NSA, this recommendation is supported by extensive research to determine the best duration of sleep for our health. While it may be important to know the recommended hours of sleep, it is just as important to look at your current sleep hygiene and how you feel day to day.
Start with assessing how you feel with your current sleep schedule and ask yourself the following:
- Do I feel tired or ache upon awakening?
- Do I feel fatigued or lose energy throughout my day?
- Do I depend on caffeine or afternoon pick me up to help me get through my day?
- Do I lose focus or concentration easily?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, it may be because you are in need of more sleep. If that is the case, you may want to increase the duration gradually and take inventory of the changes you feel as you get more sleep. During this inventory, note the amount of sleep where you feel most productive, happy and energetic.
Other tips to keep in mind for better sleep hygiene:
- Limit the use of electronics, including the TV. Often, these things keep our mind racing and make it hard for our brain to shut off.
- Evaluate your bedroom. Make it a relaxing and comforting space.
- Stick to a schedule. Start your night time routine, including lights out at the same time every night.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A warm shower, light stretching, or breathing exercises to relax the body and mind.
Sleep provides many benefits to our overall health and is key to performing optimally every day. If you have concerns about your sleep or other health factors that may be contributing to poor sleep hygiene it may time to talk with your doctor.
As an Integrative Health Coach, Donna Taylor, LMT, guides her clients through a process of understanding these patterns of behavior, and making realistic and sustainable changes to help them live a happier, healthier life. Learn more…