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Sleep Support

How much sleep do you need? What is good sleep? Is napping good for you or not? All of these questions and more are critical to living a healthy lifestyle. Here you will find information, tips, and support for how to get more, and better, sleep. 

Think you know everything there is about sleep? Take the Sleep IQ Test!

 

FYI: Insomnia: Understanding and Coping with Sleeplessness

Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. It occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even though you had the opportunity to get a full night of sleep. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning

Insomnia involves both a sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms. The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life.

More on Understanding and Coping with Insomnia

How to Nap

Remember: Naps do not make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, but a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.

How long to nap?

10 to 20 minutes- This power nap is ideal for a boost in alertness and energy, experts say. This length usually limits you to the later stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, making it easier to hit the ground running after waking up.

30 Minutes- 

Some study shows sleeping this long may cause sleep inertia, a hangover like groggy feeling the lasts for up to 30 minutes after waking up, before the nap's restorative benefits become apparent.

60 Minutes- 

This nap is best for improvement in remembering facts, faces and names. It includes slow wave sleep, the deepest type. The downside: some grogginess upon waking up.

90 minutes- 

This is a full cycle of sleep, meaning the lighter and deeper stages, including REM sleep, typically likened to the dreaming stage. This leads to improved emotional and procedural memory i.e. riding a bike, playing the piano and creativity. A nap of this length typically avoid sleeping interia, making it easier to wake up.

Siestas? Sí!- 

Siesta time, 1 PM to 4 PM, is ideal, though it depends on when people wake up and go to bed. Napping later in the day can interfere with falling asleep at night.

Reducing the Sleep Deficit

Healthy adults who don't get as much sleep as they'd like should nap. A person who dreams during a short nap likely is sleep deprived. For conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea, napping isn't recommended

Where to Nap?

In a comfortable chair, under a desk, lying on the couch – whatever works, experts say. But to avoid a deep sleep, it's best to sit slightly upright.

How to take the perfect nap

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation issued the first comprehensive sleep duration recommendations.  These recommendations are based on rigorous and systematic study of health, performance, and safety. Use these as a starting point and follow-up with your healthcare provider if you have concerns. 

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours 
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours 
  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours 
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours

Source: Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., DonCarlos, L., ... & Neubauer, D. N. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40-43.

Better Sleep Tips

8 Tips for Better Sleep

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. 
  2. Engage in a relaxing pre-sleep activity.
  3. Avoid use of blue-light electronics before bedtime or in bed, including smart phones or tablets.
  4. Avoid big meals, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine several hours before bedtime.
  5. Reserve use of your bed for sleep and sex.
  6. If possible, try and keep your room dark and cool at night.
  7. Exercise early in the day or at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  8. Limit afternoon naps to 30-45 minutes. Naps longer than an hour can disrupt regular sleep patterns.

Getting in the Mood (for Sleep!)

How do you set the mood for better sleep? Try these activities.

  • Read. A book, magazine, or non-digital media. Avoid blue-light technology like tablets/ phones/ computer.
  • Listen to soothing, calm sounds or music.
  • Turn off bright lights.
  • Try circular breathing method: Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 second, hold for 4 seconds. Repeat.
  • Body scan meditation.
  • If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up! Do something different for 15-30 minutes, then try again.
  • Take a warm shower or drink a hot liquid like tea or warm milk. This cools your internal temperature and signals your body to sleep.