Dos and Don'ts For a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep has to be one of the most underrated activities you can do to improve your health. Too often you might short change how much sleep you ought to get. The average adult needs between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This may seem pretty unrealistic considering long work hours, jetlag, medications, room climate, various noises, or even a weak mattress.

Are we getting the rest we need?

Despite your tangled hair, hound dog eyes, and dragging arms, you may not even realize you're not getting enough sleep. If you feel exhausted, and constantly long for a day-time nap, you may need to readjust your sleeping groove. While napping can be useful for preventing bleary eyes and excessive yawns, napping longer than 30 minutes can throw off your sleeping routine. Preferably in the early afternoon, find a quiet and dark place for a brief snooze. Better nap schedules and sleep habits can boost your overall rest.

What is sleep debt?

Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you need, and the amount of sleep you actually get. You may think you're getting by on a few hours with caffeine breaks, Pandora playlists, and little candies—all of which will sustain you for a while. But one way or another you must make it up, hopefully before a crash. Most people catch up on the weekend, which can cure Monday morning blues. Ultimately though, you're more tired throughout the week and you might collapse in the wrong places, like your office chair. Try adding an extra hour of sleep the next day to close the gap.

What is your optimal sleep schedule?

Try an experiment. During a week or two where you're free to sleep at your leisure, go to bed at the same time every night, but allow yourself to wake up naturally the next morning. Don't set an alarm clock. Over the course of the week, you'll see a pattern emerge and you can discover the kind of sleep your body actually needs.

What about the weekends?

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that sleep works differently for everyone. What might work for one person might not work for you. If you need to sleep for 8 hours in the fetal position or 4 hours on your stomach and 3 hours with a pillow over your face, go for it. Being consistent with your sleep is what's important. Even over the weekend, try not to vary more than an hour or two from your schedule. With consistency, you may even able to wake up without the harsh buzz of your alarm clock.

What are things to avoid?

It may be painful, but try to avoid using technology that has a backlight before bedtime. Not only will a poor mattress throw off sleep, but those bright lights will too. Try not to text, read something with a backlight, watch TV, or use a computer. Also avoid eating or exercising too late at night. Instead, try using the evening to wind down from the day's activities.

What about the quality of sleep?

On average, people spend about a third of their lives in bed, but there's no need to stress. Sleep is time well spent for each day and your future. For optimal rest, your mattress is a main component of sleep, and should be changed about every 10 years. A change like that may be expensive, so a nice alternative could be a quality air mattress. A comfortable and affordable mattress is important for you and your guests.

Dos and Don'ts for a Good Night's Sleep Infographic