How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care

how-much-sleep-do-you-needWith myriad demands on your time, the simple fact is that you likely aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep. Indeed, despite the never-ending barrage of admonishments from health organizations and the media that we aren’t getting enough rest, the structure of our society is not conducive to sleep. Whether it’s a hard-driving employer who expects you to burn the candle at both ends, a child who forgot to tell you about the school project that is due tomorrow, or lively neighbors who enjoy late-night social gatherings, many different events can sabotage your attempt to get a good night’s rest. So, despite your best intentions to get sufficient shut-eye, it probably isn’t happening.

You are surely aware that you don’t perform as well when you are tired.  In fact, sleep is vital to your overall health and well-being, and it can impact the way you feel, think, and act as you go about your daily life. This may lead you to wonder exactly how many hours you need to doze each night, and how to tell if you are adequately rested.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. Studies show that sleep needs vary significantly among individuals – even of the same age group – based on genetics, lifestyle, and health, among other things. Nevertheless, experts generally agree that school-age children require 10-11 hours, teens need about 8.5-9.25 hours, and adults should get 7-9 hours each night. After considering these basic guidelines, it’s important to take your individual needs into account. To do so, assess how you feel after different amounts of sleep and adjust your schedule accordingly.

To help ensure restful slumber, the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care suggest the following tips:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends and days off.
  • Finish eating approximately two hours before you expect to fall asleep, and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Engage in a ritual that helps you relax and wind down approximately one hour prior to bedtime, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.
  • Do not read, watch television, or use technology in bed.
  • Keep your sleeping area dark, cool, comfortable, and quiet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Make sleep a priority, rather than “that thing you do after you finish everything else.”

If you experience problems that prevent you from sleeping well, such as breathing difficulties, leg cramps, or prolonged insomnia, you should consult with a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Many sleep issues can be managed, or even cured.

For additional family health tips, please take a look at our online series of health articles. If you have questions or would like to see a physician, feel free to contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.