Do you wake up in the morning feeling energized and ready to tackle the day ahead? Or do you feel tired and in desperate need of more shut-eye?
According to recent surveys and studies of Canadians, it turns out that sleep is a scarce resource:
- Canada is the third most sleep-deprived country in the world, with 31% of people feeling they don’t get enough sleep at night.
- 20% of Canadians get less than six hours of sleep per night. This leads to 600,000 working hours being lost and $21 billion taken away from our economy every year.
Indra Narang, director of sleep medicine at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, says that “In 20 years time, we’re going to see a whole generation of adults who are functioning sub-optimally” unless we solve the problem of sleep deprivation once and for all.
But why is sleep so important in the first place? Is there a good reason why our parents and our grandparents forced us to go to bed early?
Why Deep, Distraction-Free Sleep Is Key To Your Health
It turns out that sleep is absolutely essential for helping your mind and your body function properly!
If you’re a student or full-time employee, sleep helps you retain new information while making valuable connections between bits of knowledge you already know about. You can make difficult decisions more easily and make fewer mistakes.
If your occupation involves dealing with other people and high levels of stress, a good night’s rest regulates your mood and keeps your stress levels in check. You’ll find yourself less prone to mood swings and anxiety when you encounter difficult situations.
Are you someone who makes their long-term health a top priority? Getting the right amount of sleep strengthens your immune system, reduces your risk of heart disease, and prevents unwanted weight gain.
No matter who you are or what you’re doing, sleep should never take a backseat. Your physical and mental health depend on it!
The Best Sleeping Patterns For Children, Adults & Seniors
The sleep needs for children ages 0-18 vary greatly, but it’s important to ensure they are getting the adequate amount of rest for optimal health. For instance, a newborn baby requires 14-17 hours of sleep while teenagers need 8-10 hours.
If you are an adult in the 18-64 age range, the “sweet spot” for getting the right amount of sleep lies somewhere between 7-9 hours per night.
The National Sleep Foundation strongly recommends you pay close attention to how you feel when you sleep more or less at night. Some people find that 9 hours of sleep is the bare minimum they need to feel productive, while others feel groggy after 9 hours and function better on 7 hours of sleep.
Check for any feelings of sleepiness or difficulty concentrating during the day, as that may be a potential sign of sleep deprivation.
Adults who are older than 65 years old need 7-8 hours of sleep every night. However, they need to pay more attention to medical problems that may interfere with getting their needed rest.
Your best bet is to consult with your physician if you are struggling to fall asleep at night while constantly feeling tired and exhausted upon waking up.
Proper Sleeping Habits To Start Following Today
There is some good news: There are certain science-backed tips and habits you can follow to start improving the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting.
Keep all of the lights off: Try to turn off any bright lights that are present in your bedroom, and any area of the house where light might enter.
Electronics should be shut down: Staring at a screen before you go to bed disrupts your body’s production of melatonin, the “sleep” hormone responsible for making you feel tired at night.
Set your bedroom to the ideal sleeping temperature: 15-22 degrees Celsius (60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) is the range you want to be in. Feel free to adjust the temperature if you are feeling slightly warm or chilly.
Establish a consistent bedtime schedule: If you go to bed and wake up at the same times every day and night, your body will automatically adjust. You’ll find it much easier to get tired at night and wake up in the morning.
Reduce your caffeine intake: Drinking an extra cup of coffee at night will keep you awake later, leading to poor sleep. Try to consume your last cup no later than 6 hours before your bedtime.
Does Melatonin Help You Sleep Better At Night?
A common solution for restlessness at night is to take an over-the-counter melatonin supplement. While your body naturally produces melatonin to make you feel tired at night, and using the sleep habits described above will improve your body’s production of melatonin, there are situations where you may need a little boost.
John Hopkins sleep expert Dr. Luis Buenaver recommends the use of melatonin on a short-term basis (i.e. overcoming jet lag, treating insomnia, etc.). Use 1-3 milligrams of melatonin two hours before going to bed, and do not use melatonin for longer than two weeks.
While melatonin may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer, it is not a replacement for bad sleep habits. Speak to your physician if you do not see any improvements in your sleep after two weeks of taking melatonin.
Using Magnesium For Improved Sleep
Magnesium has started to attract a lot of potential attention as an effective sleep supplement. It’s responsible for regulating many of your body’s day-to-day functions, such as helping your cells produce more energy and regulating your blood pressure.
But it turns out that magnesium plays an equally important role in getting high-quality sleep, as having low levels of magnesium can lead to insomnia. Furthermore, magnesium helps the body produce more melatonin and improves your ability to fall asleep at night.
One clinical study even observed that a supplement containing 5 mg of melatonin, 225 mg of magnesium and 11.25 mg zinc significantly improved sleep quality in seniors who had insomnia.
Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Trying a supplement like “Mag Sleep“ might do the trick. It helps reduce anxiety and stress, while resetting your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helping you fall asleep faster.
No matter where and when you go to bed, you need to make a conscious effort to improve the kind of sleep you get and how much sleep you’re getting. Taking on new nighttime habits and looking into supplementation are just examples of the many things you can do to improve your overall quality of life. Make a commitment to better sleep every day, and you’ll be surprised to see how much better you feel during the day!