Are You Getting A Good Nights Sleep?
According to a study published by the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 50-70 million adults in the United States have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. Do you or your partner snore? If so, you should note that snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea; however, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on many factors, including their age.
We did a search of the literature and found some recommended levels of sleep for each age group. These are approximately as follows:
- Newborns/Neonates require 16-18 hours a day
- Infants require 12-15 hours a day
- Toddlers require 11-14 hours a day
- Pre-school children require 11-12 hours a day
- School-age children require 10-11 hours a day
- Teenagers need 9-10 hours on average
It is recommended that most adults should get 7 to 8 hours a night for the best amount of sleep. Although there are individual differences in how much sleep people require. For example, some people may need as few as 6 hours, and some may need as many as 10 hours of sleep each night. And women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than they might usually require.
What If You Feel Drowsy During The Day?
For most people, it is normal to feel some daytime sleepiness. This occurs due to the natural rhythms of our bodies. However, you need to differentiate sleepiness from tiredness. When we are feeling sleepy, it can feel like a conscious struggle to remain awake. On the other hand, when we are tired, we may feel fatigued but will still remain relatively alert. It is therefore important that you know the difference. Some sleep experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day, even during boring activities, you may have not had enough sleep at night, or the quality of your sleep needs improvement.
Determine The Cause Of Your Sleep Problem
It is important that you let your primary care doctor know about your challenges with sleep so that they can rule out a medical cause. One rule of thumb, is that if your sleep difficulties last for a month or more then you should let your doctor know. Your doctor can check to see if you have a health condition such as asthma, arthritis, acid reflux, or depression. For some people, taking certain medications can be the cause of a sleep disorder, and the doctor can recommend medication changes that might make a big difference in your quality of sleep.
Why Is It Important To Deal With Your Sleeplessness?
Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
Depression and Sleep Disorders: Is There A Connection?
Since we see a lot of people suffering from depression- we want you to know that the relationship between sleep and depression can be quite complex. While sleep disturbance has been known to be an important symptom of depression, there is recent research that has indicated that depressive symptoms may decrease once sleep apnea has been effectively treated and sufficient sleep restored. This relationship between depression and sleep suggests that it is essential to assess and monitor sleep disorders in people with depression.
What is Good Sleep Hygiene?
The promotion of normal sleep is known as sleep hygiene. The following is a list of 10 sleep hygiene tips which sleep experts recommend to improve sleep:
- Make sure that the room you go to sleep in is the right temperature
- Your bedroom should be conducive to sleep; quiet, dark, and generally relaxing
- Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day
- Make sure you have a comfortable bed that provide adequate support
- Use your bed only for sleeping, and not for reading, watching television, or music listening
- Do not have large meals before bed
- Do not work out before bedtime
- Write down your thoughts in a journal or notebook before going to bed. For many people, thinking about things that happened during the day keeps them up
- Reduce or avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, especially near bedtime. Reducing alcohol will also reduce the time going to the bathroom at night, and improve your quality of sleep
- Turn off TVs, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover any displays you can’t shut off. Then, read a book, take a bath, meditate, or listen to calming music
Is Taking A Nap Good For Sleep or Will It Affect Sleep?
We have seen mixed reviews on whether taking naps is recommended; with some experts saying if you take a nap after lunch, you see increased productivity throughout the rest of the day, and other experts saying not to take naps because it may affect your sleep at night. The consensus is that if you have to take a nap-you should keep it to 20 minutes or less, and try to take a nap in the earlier part of the day. Some people report that naps provide them with a short-term boost in alertness and performance. However, you should note that taking a nap doesn’t provide all the other benefits of sleeping during the night-time.
When To See A Doctor and What To Do Before You See One
As mentioned above, it is important that we practice good sleep hygiene. However, if your sleep problems persist despite your attempts, and if they interfere with how you feel or function during the day, you should seek evaluation and treatment by your primary care physician. If your primary care doctor does not resolve the issue, you may want to seek further evaluation and consultation from a medical provider who has experience with assessing and treating sleep disorders. Before visiting your physician, it may be helpful to keep a diary of your sleep habits for 7-10 days. This will help you to better understand and convey the issues you are having to the doctor so they can provide you with a better diagnosis. We have provided a couple examples of sleep diaries in the references below for you to choose the one you like best. However, we recommend that you include the following information in your sleep diary.
The times when you:
- Go to the bedroom to sleep
- Fall asleep
- Wake up
- Get out of bed
- Take naps
- Consume alcohol
- Drink caffeinated beverages
If you believe that you have a mental health concern that is affecting your ability to sleep- then seek help from a mental health professional. Call us at 713-426-3100 to learn more about our approach to psychiatric treatment, or to make an appointment.
- Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006.
- Schwartz DJ, Kohler WC, Karatinos G. Symptoms of depression in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea may be amenable to treatment with continuous positive airway pressure. Chest2005;128:1304–1306.
- Zimmerman M, McGlinchey JB, Young D, Chelminski I. Diagnosing major depressive disorder I: A psychometric evaluation of the DSM-IV symptom criteria. J Nerv Ment Dis2006;194:158–163.