Supposedly, newborns to school-age children should be averaging about 12-15 hours of sleep while adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, there is really no magic number. Some may really lead a more productive lifestyle with nine to ten hours a night while others function better at six hours. It is truly an individual need.
However, research has determined that too little sleep can cause health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, cognition problems and depression. Depression can cause too much sleep and many sufferers may be sleeping consistently over nine hours. Some studies have shown that those who slept about seven hours had a lower mortality risk.
However, “Currently, there is no strong evidence that sleeping too much has detrimental health consequences, or even evidence that our bodies will allow us to sleep much beyond what is required,” says Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.
What Are Some Tips to Improve Sleep
• Cutting back on caffeine is key and avoid that afternoon pick-me-up.
• Stop smoking. Nicotine stimulates brain activity and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Harvard Medical advises that if you do not quit smoking, avoid smoking at least 1 to 2 hours prior to bedtime.
• Limit alcohol.
• Exercise your mind with relaxing music before bed or learn meditation.
• Have a comfortable bed and pillow.
• Start early to relax with a hot bath, shower or exercise to nod off.
What About Taking Melatonin?
Results have been mixed. When traveling across time zones, melatonin seems to improve sleep and help our bodies adjust to a new clock. However, some studies suggest that melatonin did not help people stay asleep and they were more tired during the day. Studies have linked low levels of melatonin to diabetes.
If sleep problems are severe, it may be a result of an illness or disorder. For example, sleep apnea is a medical condition where you may be losing sleep and need treatment for the condition. Most life insurance companies will evaluate sleep apnea on the type, how it is progressing, what types of medication you are taking or if you are using a CPAP machine.
On most occasions, sleep conditions are approved by life insurance companies; however, your rates may be higher due to other health concerns you may have as a result of your sleeping problems. Once again, it is essential to talk insurance specialists regarding the best rates for your individual assessment.