By Maj. Kelley Watts
WSMR McAfee Outpatient Clinic CNOIC
Sleep is a vitally important tool to help you remain physically and emotionally resilient. Army Medicine recommends children between the ages of three and 10 get 10-13 hours of sleep a night. Adults 18 and over should be getting eight hours of sleep.
The amount and quality of sleep children and adults get on a regular basis can directly influence school and work performance. There are medical studies that show students with higher grades sleep significantly longer and go to bed earlier than students with low grades.
“Sleep is very important, when I don’t get adequate sleep I am less motivated, less driven and sluggish…I feel like an engine with bad oil,” said Sgt. Donemeil Watson.
Medical studies have also proven the same affect with adults. Adults who maintained a consistent routine of seven to eight hours of sleep have higher mental concentration and less medical issues. Specifically, adults who sleep more have less cortisol spikes, a steroid hormone produced by the body which leads to inflammatory conditions.
Sleep has been directly linked with healthier weight in several medical studies. Studies have shown a link to a decreased amount of sleep and obesity.
“I usually get 7 hours of sleep consistently, when I don’t I am grumpy, disoriented, and can’t think straight,” said Spc. Francisco Chamorro.
Your activity levels directly affect the quality of your sleep. Children who are physically active during the day are better sleepers and typically remain asleep throughout the night. Individuals who are physically active during the day not only tend to fall asleep faster but they also typically reach all phases of the sleep cycle.
It is important to set a good sleep environment to help ensure a sound night sleep. Devices like TVs, phones, iPads, and eReaders are considered brain-neuro stimulating devices that can extend the amount of time it takes you to go to sleep and reduce the quality of sleep. Simple things like removing those devices from the bedroom, making sure the room is quiet, dark, comfortable, and cool in temperature can help ensure healthier sleeping habits. Staying on a routine of a regular bed-time and wake-up time also helps ensure good quality of sleep.
There are also things you can do before bedtime that can help you get to sleep faster. Taking a warm shower or bath, exercising, eating light, and avoiding caffeine within six hours of bedtime are just some of the things you can do before bedtime to help create a soothing environment. Establishing and enforcing a good sleep environment can help improve sleep quality.