If you’re like most people, you think about taking care of your health throughout the day. That’s when you can get your exercise, eat right, and take your vitamins. However, the hours you’re asleep can also play a huge role in your overall health.
Getting enough sleep is essential to keeping your brain healthy and sharp. It also plays an invaluable role in cardiovascular health, from the strength of your heart to your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Sleep impacts mood, concentration, and your ability to function. Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so if you don’t give it the chance to do so, your health will suffer.
Take this quiz to make sure you’re maximizing your nighttime, as well as your daytime, health.
5 Question Sleep Quiz
- The amount of sleep you need doesn’t change as you age. True or false?
- Which sleeping position is best for your health?
- Your left side
- Your right side
- Your back
- Your stomach
- It doesn’t matter
- Getting an hour less sleep a night than you should doesn’t really matter. True or false?
- There’s no such thing as “too much sleep.” True or false?
- If you can’t sleep, you should:
- Get up
- Listen to white noise
- Write down what’s bothering you
- Count backwards from 100
- Any of the above
- False. How much sleep you need definitely changes as you age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and the average adult over the age of 65 needs 7-8. For some older adults, 6 hours may be enough, and as much as 9 may be appropriate. Any less or any more just isn’t recommended, though.
- C. The best sleeping position is on your back. It keeps your neck aligned, your joints supported, blood flow is optimal, and even helps reduce wrinkles. The only exception to this is if you have sleep apnea, at which point you should be on your side. The worst sleeping position for overall health? The tummy.
- False. Even just missing an hour of sleep a night can take a toll. Losing that one hour makes you more likely to catch a cold, increases your risk of certain cancers, and raises the odds you’ll end up in a car accident.
- False. In spite of needing enough sleep, there really is such a thing as too much sleep. Getting more than 9 hours of sleep a night may contribute to:
- Heart disease
On top of those, oversleeping regularly can be a symptom of larger medical issues, like dementia or even depression. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – but don’t get too much. Speak to your doctor if you find you’re overdoing it on a regular basis.
- E. Any of the above tricks will help you get back to sleep. The key is to not just lie there and stare at your clock. Getting up will remind your brain that being in bed is for sleeping. White noise and counting backwards from 100 give you something to focus on other than whatever is keeping you awake. Writing down whatever is causing you stress assures you that you will remember it in the morning, when you can take steps to handle it. You don’t have to wrestle with it right now, because you’ve promised yourself you’ll get to it when the sun’s up. Whatever you do, don’t turn on your electronics (and try to avoid them before bedtime). The blue light they emit can upset your body clock, cause you to wake up even further, and keep you awake longer.