For many people, immediate changes to our daily routine and stress can impact sleep patterns. You might not notice right away, but extended periods of sleep deprivation can definitely have an impact on your mental and physical health.
Not getting enough sleep puts you at risk for many health conditions including high blood pressure, obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and mental health disorders. Even a lack of sleep for one night can have negative effects the next day – you’ll likely feel sleepy, be less productive at work, be in a bad mood, and you’re also more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
While all of the key functions of sleep have not yet been fully uncovered, research suggests that sleep plays an important role in tissue healing, memory, motivation, mood, judgment, perception of events, weight regulation and cleaning of toxins from the brain.
The amount of sleep you need for good health fluctuates depending on your age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends:
- Infants (4 to 12 months) - 12-16 hours in a 24-hour period, including naps
- Toddlers (1 to 2 years) - 11 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period, including naps
- Pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) - 10 to 13 hours in a 24-hour period, including naps
- School-aged children (6 to 12 years) - 9 to 12 hours in a 24-hour period
- Teenagers (13 to 18 years) - 8 to 10 hours in a 24-hour period
- Adults (18+ years) - 7 or more hours per night
If you're struggling to get a good night's sleep due to the current situation with COVID-19, try some of these tips recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Consistency is key – aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends.
- Relax – engage in a relaxing activity shortly before bed, a relaxing bath, reading, etc., which can help your brain and body relax and promote better sleep.
- Set up a cozy sleeping environment – ensure that your room is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.
- Ditch the gadgets – remove all electronic devices, including cell phones, laptops, and TV from your bedroom. In particular, refrain from screen time 60 minutes before you want to go to sleep as the blue light emitted is known to stimulate the brain making sleep more difficult.
- Limit food and drinks – avoid eating large meals, and limit caffeine and alcohol use for 2 to 3 hours before bed.
- Exercise – engage in physical activity throughout the day, however, avoid vigorous exercise for 2 to 3 hours before bed.
We know that quarantine has caused many people to fall out of their normal daily routines, espically sleeping, we hope this information was helpful and gets you back on track to a peaceful nights sleep.