This time of year, even though we all would love to hibernate, stresses of the holidays (all of the parties and gatherings, shopping, budget constraints, etc.) often cause us to experience a lack of sleep.
How much sleep is enough and what happens when you have lack?
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute shows the following graphic for recommended amounts of sleep for various age groups.
How important is sleep? Well, it depends on whether you want to be able to think and if you want your body to repair. Lack of sleep will cause mood swings and can actually cause psychosis. It can also contribute to diabetes, heart disease and other physical diseases. Yes, it is that important.
Tips and tricks to get the right amount of sleep...
1. Keep as much of a sleep schedule as possible. Go to bed and wake up at the same time. That includes on the weekends. This will prevent the disruption of your wake-sleep rhythm.
2. Keep a bed time routine. Do approximately the same things before bed.
3. Avoid alcohol, stimulants (i.e. caffeinated drinks) and heavy meals within a couple of hours prior to bedtime.
4. Sleep in a quiet and dark room, and in the same space as often as possible. That means that your bedroom should be used mainly for sleep so that psychologically, you start to wind down when entering that space and preparing for bed.
Sleeping is as much a fundamental human requirement as breathing. It has been said that a human could survive for three times as long without food and they could without sleep. So, you could say that it is the difference between life and death. Take it that seriously and you will be able to more easily function throughout the busiest time of year.