UA Matters: Importance of Adequate Sleep
Catching the appropriate number of z’s each night is important.
The University of Alabama’s Dr. Adam Knowlden offers insight into the importance of sleep and a few tips to help you rest well and awaken refreshed.
- Loss of sleep is not just an inconvenience; sleep deprivation is linked to work-related fatalities and motor vehicle accidents.
- Population-based evidence suggests adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- There is evidence too much sleep (more than 8 hours) has negative, long-term health effects, though the reasons for this are not well understood and are debated.
- To improve sleep onset, it is helpful to avoid activities that increase mental stimulation near bedtime. Such activities include social media, watching stimulating television or studying.
- For college students with flexible schedules, limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes. If longer naps are needed, the person may be sleep deprived. Long naps can interfere with natural nighttime sleep drive.
- Try not to change bedtime and wake time by more than two hours, as this could throw off the body’s internal clock. The same bed/wake time each day is ideal.
Dr. Knowlden is a UA assistant professor of health science in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.
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