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Sleep and Wellness

24 August 2021

How many hours do you spend sleeping in a day? Is it sufficient enough for you to be able to work efficiently in the office? If not, then you must realize that lack of sleep can adversely affect your health and well-being. Our doctor advised us to sleep at least eight (8) hours at night to maintain a healthy body. However, sleep requirements differ by age.

According to an article from Mayo Clinic published online, different age groups need different amounts of sleep in a day. For example, infants 4 months to 12 months have to have 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours, including naps. Those who are 1 to 2 years old have to have 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours, including naps.

For 3 to 5 years old, they need 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours, including naps. Children aged 6 to 12 years old have been recommended to sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours while those who are 13 to 18 years old need 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours. While for adults, it is suggested that they sleep 7 (seven) or more hours a night.

The Mayo Clinic article also discussed other factors that affect our sleeping hours such as:

  • Sleep quality - it goes with sleep quantity. Uninterrupted sleep is a quality sleep
  • Stripped of sleep - when you lacked sleep previously, you need more hours of sleep to replenish that deprivation
  • Pregnancy - hormone level changes can also affect sleep quality
  • Aging - old people have shorter sleeping time and patterns of sleeping changes

I think most of us do not sleep that much as suggested because we are usually busy with work and our devices. Admittedly, I am one of those who do not sleep for seven (7) hours. I usually lack sleep because I am usually glued to surfing the net, checking on my emails, and watching videos on Youtube. I also check on social media for some updates about my friends and relatives that consume most of my time for a day. It seems that doing these things is quite uncontrollable at times.

I remember that particular statement made by my online teacher when I was enrolled in ESL teaching, he said that “control your devices or your computer, if not, they will control you.” I think this is true. Realizing this truth, I began to control my urge to surf the net to be able to devote more time to sleeping, especially at night.

A recent study indicated that "just one night of sleep loss harms your well-being" (     

Succeeding sleep loss was related to a decrease in positive emotions while increasing the negative emotions. It was also further discussed in the article that adults should sleep at least for 7 hours at night. The adverse effects of lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep are "linked to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and in another recent study, dementia."

In other words, sleep is "closely related to so many different health outcomes," Soomi Lee, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida's School of Aging Studies and Director of the Sleep, Stress, and Health (STEALTH) lab. also affirmed.

So, the only way to avoid a lack of sleep that could lead to serious illnesses is to be able to manage our time for different tasks to be able to sleep sufficiently especially at night. In another article about sleep, Brandon Marcello, a high-performance strategist specializing in sleep, said that achieving optimal sleep needs "good sleep hygiene" defining it as "quality, quantity and the consistency of both."

According to Marcello, there are certain requirements to achieve a sleep routine where there is a focus on the surroundings and pre-sleep activities. He suggested a dark, cool room is an ideal surrounding for sleep. He also recommended pre-sleep activities such as:

  • Reading
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Meditation
  • Stretching
  • Breathing Exercises

Studies also show that physical exercises could make us sleep faster and enhance sleep quality, ( in several ways such as:

  1.  "Aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins. These chemicals can create a level of activity in the brain that keeps some people awake. These individuals should exercise at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, giving endorphin levels time to wash out and “the brain time to wind down,” says Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital. 
  2. “Exercise also raises your core body temperature. “The effect of exercise on some people is like taking a hot shower that wakes you up in the morning,” says Gamaldo. Elevation in core body temperature signals the body clock that it’s time to be awake. After about 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature starts to fall. The decline helps to facilitate sleepiness.” she added

“People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may see a difference in sleep quality that same night. “It’s generally not going to take months or years to see a benefit,” says Gamaldo. “And patients don’t need to feel like they have to train for the Boston Marathon to become a better sleeper,” Gamado said.

She also said that “ picking an exercise you like will help you stick with it. For example, powerlifting or an active yoga class can elevate your heart rate, helping to create the biological processes in the brain and body that contribute to better quality sleep. “

On the whole, exercising has a lot to do with sleeping faster and having quality sleep.