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Healthy Living Begins with Ample Sleep

Jul 06, 2015 05:06AM ● Published by Family Features

Taking steps to improve your mental and physical well-being may fall flat if you’re not spending enough time recharging your body. Sleep experts agree: adequate, regular sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.

According to a new recommendation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS), adults should get seven or more hours of sleep per night to avoid the health risks associated with prolonged periods of inadequate sleep. For the millions of Americans who do not make regular sleep a priority, this guidance can motivate healthier lifestyle habits.

“Sleep is critical to health, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, AASM president and moderator of the expert panel that developed the recommendation. “Our consensus panel of 15 of the nation’s top sleep experts found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults. We also agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount for all healthy adults.”

No limit for certain individuals
Recognizing that some adults need more sleep than others, the panel did not place a limit on how much sleep people should get per night. For example, people who may need nine or more hours of nightly sleep include young adults with growing bodies, individuals trying to make up for lost sleep, or those who are sick.

“More than a third of the population is not getting enough sleep, so the focus needs to be on getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep,” added Watson. “In general we want people to get more sleep, not less.”

Tips for successful sleep
What are some easy ways to ensure that you get the sleep you need for a productive and healthy life? Check out these five healthy sleep habits provided by the experts at AASM. Following these tips can help you develop a healthy sleep pattern:

  • Be consistent. Go to bed when you are sleepy and try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Limit time in bed. Don’t use your bed for other non-sleep activities, such as watching television or checking email.
  • Make your bedroom a sleep haven. A quiet and relaxing bedroom environment will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature but slightly cool.
  • Limit the caffeine. Avoid coffee, tea, soda and other caffeine sources in the afternoon and evening hours.
  • Get at least seven hours. Go to bed early enough to allow yourself to sleep seven hours or more each and every night.

Live life awake and refreshed with the proper amount of sleep. You’ll be putting your best foot forward every morning.

Visit www.projecthealthysleep.org to learn more about healthy sleep from the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a collaboration between the AASM, SRS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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