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Posts Tagged ‘better sleep’

cartoon image of sleeping moon

I have always struggled with getting enough sleep. I feel like there is so much I want to get done in a day, but I don’t really have the time for. As I become busier with my work schedule, wedding planning, and wanting to spend time with family and friends, I am learning just how important sleep really is.

Sleep helps recharge your body and mind. When you get enough sleep, you should wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. When there is an inadequate amount of sleep, it causes your brain to function improperly. This will make it more difficult to concentrate and think clearly. When someone is getting less then the amount of sleep needed, it is called sleep deprivation.

Stages of Sleep

It is important to remember that there are four stages of sleep. The first three are NREM (non-rapid eye movement). The final stage is REM sleep( rapid-eye movement).

  • State 1 NREM: This stage marks the transition from wakefulness to sleep and consists of light sleep. This typically lasts several minutes
  • Stage 2 NREM: This stage is considered a deep sleep. This is the longest of the four stages of sleep.
  • Stage 3 NREM: This is the stage that helps you wake up feeling refreshed. Stage 3 NREM is longer at first but decreases through the night.
  • REM: This stage begins 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The duration of the REM stage decreases the older you get. You will eventually spend more time in the NREM stages.

The four stages repeat, in order, throughout the night with each stage lasting around 90-120 minutes. That means you will spend roughly 75%-80% of your sleep in the NREM stages.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Different age groups require different amounts of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation provides a chart with the recommended amount of sleep for different ages per day.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can affect how someone feels and acts. Symptoms vary depending on the person and the seriousness of their sleep deprivation.  Some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation include:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Worsened memory
  • Poor/risky decision making
  • Lack of energy
  • Mood changes

Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips:

  • Get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends
  • Go to bed when you are sleepy
  • Put away electronics 2 hours before bed
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Limit caffeine
  • Avoid or limit alcohol
  • Stick to a routine with meals, exercise, and other activities

Additional habits that can interfere with your sleep are smoking and naps. Naps interfere with a good night’s sleep if they are longer than 30 minutes. Avoid taking naps in the late afternoon. In some cases, you may want to avoid naps all together.

Resources

Pacheco, D. (2022, March 11). Why Do We Need Sleep?. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep

Suni, E. (2022, March 11). Healthy Sleep Tips. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips

Suni, E. (2022, March 18). Sleep Deprivation . Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation

Bertisch, S. (2018, November 5). No More Counting Sheep: Proven Behaviors to Help you Sleep. Harvard Healthy Publising. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/no-more-counting-sheep-proven-behaviors-to-help-you-sleep-2018110515313

Written by: Megan Zwick, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

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Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.

 

Resources:

Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

 

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