This Is What You Should Do for a Better Night’s Sleep

Source: andresr / Getty Images

Can’t sleep? You’re one of three adult Americans who do got enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep is a biological need that promotes good health. Not getting enough may lead to numerous negative health outcomes both in the short and long term that range from daytime fatigue to depression to premature aging.

Generally, adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but everyone has his or her own optimal sleep time. Some people may need 11 hours, while others function just fine with six hours of shuteye at night, Dr. Kent Smith, founder of Sleep Dallas, a dental sleep medicine practice, and president of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, said.

But the quantity is not all that matters. You can be in bed for 13 hours, but if you wake up every hour or so, you would not be rested at all because you would not have gotten any restful sleep. Sleep quality, also known as “sleep efficiency,” refers to the percentage of time a person is asleep during the night, Smith explained.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, you are considered a quality sleeper if you: sleep for 85% of the time you spend in bed; take 30 minutes or less to fall asleep; wake up no more than once per night; and are awake for 20 minutes or less during the night after falling asleep.

One reason so many people have trouble sleeping or do not get enough sleep in the first place is that they do not realize that sleep is part of our natural habitat, Dr. Mayank Shukla, a sleep medicine specialist in New York, explained. “Once we realize how vital sleep is, everything else will fall into place.” The mentality of working nonstop and being connected to other people via social platforms all the time needs to change, Shukla added.

Once you have the determination to improve your sleep because you know how crucial it is for overall health, you need to know the tricks that can help achieve a restful night’s sleep.

To identify habits and procedures people can incorporate to hopefully achieve better sleep, 24/7 Wall St. consulted several sleep doctors and a clinical psychologist specializing in insomnia treatment, and reviewed dozens of medical studies published online.