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Better Living Author March 19, 2019

Eight Ways to Promote Good Quality of Sleep

Did you know that sleep plays an important role in our overall good health and well-being? Enough quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Sleep is an important element in the body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance. If you don’t get enough sleep it can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions as well as behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.

How much sleep is enough sleep?

The amount of sleep required for optimal health many change over a life time and may vary from person to person. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended the following hours of sleep for different age groups:

  • Infants aged 4-12 months 12-16 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 1-2 years 11-14 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 3-5 years 10-13 hours a day (including naps)
  • Children aged 6-12 years 9-12 hours a day
  • Teens aged 13-18 years 8-10 hours a day
  • Adults aged 18 years or older 7–8 hours a day

Now that we understand the importance of enough or quality sleep let’s look at ways to promote healthy sleeping habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. With enough sleep each night, you may find that you're happier and more productive during the day. Other strategies to improve sleep habits include:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don't use the child's bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock's sleep–wake rhythm.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. The light may signal the brain that it's time to be awake.
  • Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay.) Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Avoid nicotine (for example, cigarettes) and caffeine (including caffeinated soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate). Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, and both substances can interfere with sleep. The effects of caffeine can last up to 8 hours. So, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.
  • Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine if needed).
  • Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.

At Better Living Home Care Services, we truly care about your overall wellbeing. If you are finding yourself having trouble managing on your own, we would love to help you explore your options regarding home care assistance. We provide home care services ranging from respite care to end of life care. Call our Client Care Coordinator at (604) 765-1827 for more information.

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