We spoke with sleep expert Dr. Russell Sanna about the importance of getting enough shut-eye. Here are his suggestions.
What is the proper amount of sleep for a woman? Does that vary with age?
Adult women should get between six and eight hours nightly – the precise number varies by individual. One way to find out is to stop setting your alarm clock for a week. Keep a log of when you go to bed and when you wake up. By the end of the week, you should have a clear idea of how much sleep is right for you.
As women and men age, they tend to go to bed earlier, wake earlier, and wake up more frequently during the night. When it comes to trouble sleeping, women tend to have more difficulty falling asleep, though men are more likely to feel sleepy during the day.
If you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, what does that do to the body and the way you function?
Long-term sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke. Sleep deprivation also leads to impaired cognitive performance that can show up as irritability, poor judgment and risky safety behavior, e.g., drowsy driving.
How is stress related to insomnia?
Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep problem. It includes having trouble falling asleep, waking up frequently and not sleeping long enough. It has been correlated with increased stress — when adults suffer from insomnia, they experience heightened levels of stress hormones for a 24-hour period.
What are some things we can do to ensure we get enough sleep?
Maintain a consistent schedule – this is key. Don’t look at screens for one hour prior to going to bed as the blue light sends alerting signals to your brain. Eliminate caffeine after mid-afternoon. Make sure your sleep environment is cool and dark.
– Dr. Russell Sanna