Is it bedtime yet?

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35% of adults report not getting enough sleep to live a productive life. With the stimulating world we live in between cell phones, TV, and stress, it’s surprising that the number isn’t higher! It’s almost guaranteed that as you walk through your office, you’ll hear a yawn or see your co-workers sleepily pour another cup of coffee to get through the day.

We also know that many people turn to alcohol for a good night’s rest- or so they think. According to the National Sleep Foundation, night drinking before bed can be hurtful to your sleep cycle. Alcohol consumption can actually interrupt circadian rhythm (our natural ability to feel awake and asleep at about the same time everyday). This is because alcohol speeds up the production of a chemical called adenosine, which is a sleep-inducing chemical. But just as quickly as the sleepiness comes on, it fades. This can cause the user to wake up before true rest has taken place.

We also know that alcohol can block you from getting into REM sleep. Because of this, the user can feel groggy and unfocused the days following a night of heavy drinking. The bottom line is that the more a person drinks, the stronger the sleep disruption.

So how can we get into the swing of a natural and healthy sleep schedule? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended number of hours we need to sleep depend on a variety of things. The first being age:

Teens (14-17): 8-10 hours of sleep recommended

Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours of sleep recommended

Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours of sleep recommended

Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours of sleep recommended

These numbers are just an average. The amount of hours needed to feel rested varies depending on the individual. If you do get this amount of rest, but still feel tired, pay attention to how you feel, and think through the following questions:

Do you feel productive during the day?

Are you overweight?

Do you depend on caffeine and sugar to get you through the day?

Are you struggling to keep your eyes open on your way to and home from work?

Do you feel the dreaded afternoon “crash” after lunch time?

Do you depend on alcohol or other substances to get you to bed at night?

If so, you may need to reevaluate the number of hours you sleep, and should consider snuggling into your sheets an hour or so earlier.

If you are trying to improve your sleep cycle, but just can’t feel tired when you need to, the following Apps have been created with hopeful dreamers in mind and are recommended by the American Sleep Association.

Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds allows you to create a white noise and meditation play list.

Pzizz plays a mixture of music, voiceovers, and sound effects which change each night to help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

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White Noise is for users interested in white noise sounds such as blowing fans, cats purring, city streets, waves crashing, or thunderstorms.

White Noise is for users interested in white noise sounds such as blowing fans, cats purring, city streets, waves crashing, or thunderstorms.

White Noise is for users interested in white noise sounds such as blowing fans, cats purring, city streets, waves crashing, or thunderstorms.

Remember- your bed was created for sleeping- not videogames, social media scrolling, work from home, homework or reading! Our brains are programmed to recognize and remember recurring behaviors. If you’re the type of person who watches TV right before bed, your brain and body remembers it. For the best sleep habit, keep your bed a sacred place and stick to doing only what it was made for- sweet, sweet slumber!

Written By:
Alexa Ruffino
Assistant Director of Prevention Services

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol or substance use contact Breaking Free at 630.897.1003 for more information on the services that we provide or to make an appointment for an assessment.