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How Do We Know If We Have Enough Sleep? Check This New Study To Find Out

How Do We Know If We Have Enough Sleep? Check This New Study To Find Out

Finding that perfect amount of sleep is critical but difficult. Some people need a full eight hours to function while others are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with only five. Meanwhile, some people need to sleep half the day away in order to feel rejuvenated. Thus, the actual amount of sleep a person requires is highly subjective.

Sleep feels luxurious; however, it is a requirement for health. How long and how well you sleep keeps you emotionally balanced and feeling physically fit. Figuring out how much sleep you need is not as difficult as it sounds. All you need to do is pay attention to and keep track of how your body feels.

Growing Up & Out of Sleep

According to Harvard Medical School, you need the most sleep when you’re younger. Adults only need about half the sleep that children do.

Newborn babies need anywhere from 10.5 to 18 hours of sleep a day to be healthy because they use all that sleep to grow and develop. After three months, they require slightly less sleep (on average 10 to 14 hours). By the time children hit school, they need only an average of 10 hours.

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Once you hit 18 years of age, you only need an average of 7.5 to 8.5 hours a sleep per day on average.

Looking for Signs of Tiredness

If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting or whether it is enough, follow these guidelines for figuring out your sleep pattern:

Forget Your Bedtime, Check Your Wake Up Time

The average person moves through five sleep cycles each night. Each cycle lasts 90 minutes. This is where scientists get the 7.5 hour figure from. Instead of worrying about hitting that 7.5 hours after you go to bed, look at the time that you wake up.

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Pay attention to the time that you wake up naturally in the morning. Whether it is 10 AM or 5 AM, count back 7.5 hours from that figure to determine what time you need to go to bed in order to ensure you get the perfect amount of sleep.

Pay Attention to Your Tired Periods

Think about the periods of the day when you are most tired. Are you tired after waking? Does the tiredness hit after lunch or mid-afternoon? Or are you ready to crash around dinner time?

Any of these are a sign that you are not getting enough sleep. Each of these are cues for sleep that will help you determine if you’re getting enough sleep, if you’re over-tired, or if you are completely sleep deprived.

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Keep a Sleep Journal

Tracking how much sleep you get can help boost the level of sleep you get. Use a sleep journal to keep track of your sleep schedule and look at how consistently you get what you think is the right amount of sleep. Nowadays there are even high tech options such as smart-watches and custom wristbands that can do this for you.

Whatever option you choose, the journal will show you where you struggle and succeed when it comes to getting enough sleep. Even minor deviations are important because losing even one hour of sleep can affect your energy and your immune system.

Keeping an eye on your sleep schedule is also important because your body does not adjust as quickly to new sleep schedules as you would like it to. It can take a week to adjust to a new pattern if you have changed time zones or changed shifts at work.

Also note how often you try to “make up” sleep. Some people believe that getting extra sleep can help you make up for a lack of sleep other days. However, it is not the amount of sleep that matters as much as how long you get quality sleep. Simply sleeping more does not fully compensate for a previous lack of sleep. It can also mess with your normal sleep cycle.

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Fixing Your Sleeping Habits

After you’ve got more information about your sleep, your strengths and weaknesses will start to become more clear. To fix your sleeping habits and ensure you’re getting enough sleep, you need to make sleep a priority. Rather than focusing on making up sleep, you need to prioritize a natural sleep pattern.

A good way to fix your sleeping pattern is to take a sleep vacation. When you have two weeks free, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up without an alarm. You will notice that you’re sleeping later at first, but you will slowly start waking up at a suitable time all on your own. You’ll probably also find that you’re sleeping somewhere between seven and nine hours.

Conclusion

Remember that sleep is imperative for health. If after all your efforts, you’re still falling asleep during meetings, this may be a sign that there is something wrong with your sleep system. If you’re not sure why you can’t catch enough Zs, check in with a sleep doctor.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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