When you were younger, you may have thought sleep was a waste of time. After all, there were so many more fun things to do in your waking hours.
As you've aged, sleep may still seem like waste of time, but not because you're missing out on fun things... more likely because the stress of grown-up life has you burning the candle at both ends.
Sleep is not a waste of time, no matter what your age. It's an essential part of optimal health and longevity.
If you don't get a good night's sleep, you can gain an average of 6.5 pounds per year. You'll suffer from poor energy, brain fog, and your immune system will be suppressed, allowing infections and disease to ravage your body. And, if you suffer from any sort of pain, lack of sleep will just perpetuate it. No matter the cause of your pain, if you don't get enough sleep, your body cannot fully repair itself and thus your pain will never fully go away.
So, how much sleep is considered a "good night's sleep"?
According to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, it truly depends on the kind of person you are.
Some people are just fine with six hours. But, others need eight, nine, even 10 hours.
If you're sleeping a solid seven hours, but still feel fatigued during the day, try different amounts of sleep and see what feels best to you. If you wake up 7:00 a.m. no matter what time you go to bed, try getting to bed earlier than usual a few nights and see how that feels. You might just discover you need more hours.
If you have trouble falling asleep, a good tactic is to instill a bedtime routine; similar to when you were a child.
Read a book, brush your hair, take a hot bath with Epsom salts, have a glass of wine or your favorite piece of dark chocolate... whatever soothes you. Avoid caffeine, and don't exercise within an hour of bedtime. Herbal remedies can also help.
If you wake up during the night, between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m., try eating a protein snack before you go to bed, such as a hard-boiled egg or small portion of meat or fish.
Finally, check on your level of nasal congestion. If you have trouble breathing through your nose, you won't get restorative sleep. To ease this, do a nasal rinse before bed or try the breathing "devices" such as Breathe-Right strips.
In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Teitelbaum joins host Andrea Donsky to discuss why getting a good night's rest is so important for your health, as well as simple tips for making sure you're getting enough hours of sleep each night.