It’s Not Just the Required Amount of Sleep, but the Quality of Sleep, Too

Feeling exhausted affects all areas of your life: your work, your leisure, your motivation, your focus, your perception of the world, and others’ perceptions of you. 

A busy schedule, issues that need solutions, chronic pain, caffeine intake, or a non-ideal sleep environment can all affect not only how much you sleep, but also how well you sleep. Truthfully, there is no one-size-fits-all number of hours of sleep that people in Kansas City must get to feel well-rested and lead a holistically healthy lifestyle. But, you are perfectly aware of determining when you have not gotten adequate sleep and can use that as a guideline.

How many hours of sleep do I need in a day?
Compiling and analyzing more than two years of research data, the National Sleep Foundation’s eighteen scientists and researchers agreed upon official recommendations for sleep durations. They identified the minimum and maximum ranges of length of sleep by age group for people like you to use as a rule-of-thumb when gauging how much rest you really need every day. These are the new recommendations:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours per day

  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours per day

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per day

  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day

  • School-age children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours per day

  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours per day

  • Adults (18-64 years): 7-9 hours per day

  • Older Adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours per day

There will be outliers in every category; some teenagers, for example, may thrive on 12 hours of sleep per day, or some adults may feel perfectly well and happy on just 5 hours per day. If you do not feel your age’s recommended range is suitable for you, assess your needs based on how you feel after different amounts of restful sleep.

What are the stages of sleep?
There are two stages of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Depending on the amount of each you get, you may be a light sleeper or sleep very soundly. 

In NREM sleep, the first stage is just after you fall asleep. It lasts about ten minutes and is very light sleep, during which you are awakened easily. The second stage lasts about 30 minutes to an hour. Your muscles relax, and you may begin to have slow-wave brain activity. When you reach stage three, you are in a deep sleep that lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. During this stage, your slow-wave brain activity increases. You usually progress through each of these stages prior to entering REM sleep, a process that takes up to two hours.

When you reach REM sleep, you are in even deeper! During REM sleep, your eyelids flutter, and your breathing becomes irregular. Dreams occur during REM sleep. This is the deepest sleep you can get.

As you sleep the NREM and REM cycles repeat three or four times, and most adults spend more time in NREM sleep than in REM. However, you might still feel sleepy if you aren’t reaching REM sleep as much as necessary.

What happens to my body when I don’t get enough sleep?
It’s obvious that not getting enough sleep is not healthy, but lack of sleep can cause some specific issues with your overall health. And because one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it’s no wonder so many adults suffer from a variety of preventable health problems.

Without enough sleep, you may:

  • Get sick. Lack of sleep impairs your immune system.

  • Increase your chances over time of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or having a stroke, according to the National Health Service.

  • Feel like your brain is foggy. Your memory may not be as sharp, and your ability to problem-solve may be diminished.

  • Develop skin blemishes, including more wrinkles and uneven skin tone.

How can I improve my sleep quality?
Even if you sleep for your full eight hours and wake up feeling unrested, it’s possible you need more sleep. Or, you may also need to find ways to improve your quality of sleep. Here are a few ways the experts suggest to improve the quality and length of your sleep, so you can wake up feeling well-rested, ready for your morning yoga classes, or for work or play.

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends. Try going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time every day, even when you don’t have anywhere to be. This will train your body to sleep during these times.

  2. Create a relaxing nighttime routine. Maybe you take a soothing bath with essential oils. Perhaps you meditate before bed. Whatever it is, make sure whatever you choose helps calm you and does not include electronic devices or harsh lighting. In fact, turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.

  3. Exercise daily. Choose fitness classes near you, like those at the Kansas City Wellness Club so you’re more likely to attend than if you have to commute a long distance.

  4. Ensure your bedroom is ideal in terms of temperature, sound, and lighting. Cooler temperatures, white noise to drown out urban sounds, and no lights at all tend to be recommended over sleeping with the TV on, for example. (Everyone’s ideal temperature and sounds may be different, though, but the experts agree: darkness is key.)

  5. Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillow, and sheet set. Enough said!

  6. Avoid doing any other activities in bed, aside from sleeping or making love. This will retrain your brain and help you fall asleep more quickly than if your brain sees your bed as a desk, dining table, or hang-out spot.

  7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both can negatively affect your sleep.

  8. Address your overall wellness: mind, body, and spirit. Seek out natural ways to improve how you’re living. The Kansas City Wellness Club can help you determine what services might be right for you.

New Age Living at the Kansas City Wellness Club

For the latest ways to become the best version of yourself, the Kansas City Wellness Club, inside the historic and glamorous Kansas City Club building, offers opportunities for physical and emotional health and healing, unlike anyone else in the metro area. 

Whether you’re seeking beautification, yoga, life coaching, virtual reality exercise, and group support, or Reiki, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Kansas City Wellness Club. Book an appointment online to start living a better life.