Oh, the bliss of awakening after a night of deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep. Often, still tangled in dreams, we wonder if those first, few magical moments of half-wakefulness are even real. We sigh and stretch before even opening our eyes, certain that this blissful night of rest will change our lives.
But will it? Can our sleep patterns really change our lives, or is that just wishful thinking?
Or—as some experts maintain—are our lives more likely to control our sleep patterns?
Our Lives, Our Sleep Patterns
According to the Division of Sleep and Medicine at Harvard Medical School, our sleep patterns definitely fluctuate over time. As we pass through different phases, we can expect the baseline to shift.
Over a typical lifespan, the amount of time we spend each day sleeping declines. Newborns spend from 16 to 20 hours sleeping each day. Between the ages of one and four, total daily sleep time decreases to about 11 or 12 hours. This gradual decline continues through childhood, such that an adolescent will need—though not necessarily get—about nine hours of sleep to function at his or her best. Adults through middle age need at least eight hours, and although the elderly may still require up to eight hours, they may struggle to obtain those hours in one block.
While such sleep variations are to be expected throughout the course of a lifetime, there are also variations that are decidedly unexpected. Different phases of adulthood create sleep complications. Everything from night shifts to newborns can factor into the equation. Some people may suffer from insomnia for a season (or a lifetime), while others develop conditions such as sleep apnea that cause the quality of their rest to decline. Apart from such drastic situations, however, most adults can expect to enjoy seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Many Americans, however, are not sleeping enough. Not by a long shot.
The Truth About Americans and Sleep
When we say the vast majority of Americans do not sleep enough, we are not exaggerating.
Recent reports by the CDC suggest that one in three adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. In order to turn the situation around, the organization suggests several very specific steps.
As a nation we are not getting enough sleep," said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC's Division of Population Health. "Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.
But will getting enough sleep really make that much of a difference? Could a well-rested routine indeed prove life-changing?
Many people would say yes.
Fix Your Sleep Schedule, Change Your Life
First, because healthy sleep can help you acquire, consolidate, and recall information more effectively, changing your sleep patterns in order to boost the quality or amount of sleep that you're getting could have a big impact on your day. Whether this means that you'll be better able to function at work or more effective as you communicate with your friends and family, getting enough good sleep at night can ease the stress and tensions of the day by helping you with memory and recall. Ironically, this will make you less tense at the end of the day and better able to fall asleep at night! If that doesn't sound like a positive feedback loop, we don't know what does.
Second, there's some evidence to link sufficient sleep with effective weight loss. While this is by no means an invitation to abuse sleep in order to avoid mealtimes or to exchange a healthy regimen of diet and exercise for napping, this is an encouragement to talk to your doctor about the link between the two and ask how you can fix your sleep schedule to facilitate proper weight loss.
Third, you'll be saved the consequences of accidents brought on by sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, individuals who are not fully alert often cause accidents, bringing injury to themselves and others, even damaging property in the process. The good news is that by learning to fix your sleep schedule, you are able to tackle each day with full vigor and fresh energy, on alert and ready for anything. While some accidents are unavoidable, many can be sidestepped through quick reactions—reactions that a good night's sleep makes infinitely more possible.
Finally, by changing your sleep patterns, you can set a precedent for those who follow behind. Whether you're raising children or just setting a positive example for friends and neighbors through your own lifestyle choices, you can be part of the sea change that impacts the next generation. With Stanford Medicine reporting epidemic levels of sleeplessness among our nation's teens, such change can't come soon enough. With experts calling for the need for all hands on deck to address the sleep crisis among our nation's youth, the time has come for all of us to lead by example.
In that respect, changing our sleep can change not only our own lives but potentially the lives of others also.
For many of us, the change starts with learning how to accomplish a good night's sleep for ourselves.
Often, a good night's sleep is not possible without a good mattress.
That's where we come in.
Nest Bedding Can Help
Here at Nest Bedding, we are committed to helping you reach your best and fullest night's sleep. As a top-rated online mattress company with some of the highest levels of recommendations, we have proven ourselves an industry leader, and we're excited to help more and more Americans experience quality sleep—and thereby, optimal health.
If it is indeed possible to change your life through changing your sleep patterns, we are proud to be part of the change by actively providing the tools necessary to ensure quality sleep at affordable prices.
To hear more about our premium products and services, or to talk more about how to ensure a quality night's sleep, please feel free to contact us at any time or visit one of our U.S.-based showrooms, where our warm and knowledgeable staff looks forward to answering any and all questions.
We look forward to serving you.