Children who fall short of sleep by just one hour per night have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. We have long known that in adults, chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk for heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes, but the fact that children can be affected similarly is cause for concern. Teenagers are the age group most at risk, with many adolescents getting only seven hours a day on average as opposed to their recommended nine. If you or your children are waking up feeling fatigued, or you feel drowsy during the day, a few changes to your routine or bedroom design may do the trick.
Sleep quantity and quality are not the same
Adults need around seven hours minimum of sleep a day, while children need more hours depending on their age. Even if your family is achieving these targets, however, their health could be affected if sleep quality is poor. There are various cycles of sleep, one of the most restorative of which is deep sleep. During this phase, Human Growth Hormone (HGH – which is important for fat breakdown, muscle and bone growth, is produced. According to the National Sleep Foundation, good sleep quality is achieved when we wake up less than once a night, spend at least 85% of the time we are in bed sleeping, are awake for no longer than a total of 20 minutes a night, and fall asleep in half an hour or less. If your sleep quality is poor, ask yourself if your bedroom layout or furniture could be the problem.
The bed as the nucleus of rest
Experts suggest that we change mattresses every five to 10 years so if your bedroom is due for an update, ensure your choice is the right firmness for your sleeping position. Top mattress options for side sleepers include memory foam mattresses, which prevent potential shoulder and hip pain. For back sleepers, a firm mattress is key so as to prevent lower back pain. The right pillow height and firmness are also important in order to keep neck and cervical pain at bay. Because beds are a long-term commitment, professional advice is recommended at the buying stage.
The effect of interiors on the psyche
Research has shown that the state of one’s interiors – in this case, one’s bedroom – has an important effect on our psychological state. For instance, cluttered bedrooms that are too full of furniture and mess can cause stress. Exceedingly bright colors and patterns can also lead to excessive stimulation and stress. When designing your bedroom, opt for calming colors like green, lavender, or blue. Accessories can bear brighter colors, but they should complement rather than clash with your main color. Ensure your bedroom has only the furniture it needs, and that gadgets such as televisions are kept in other rooms, to avoid the temptation to stay up late. Your bedroom should be dark and cool. Blackout curtains can help you achieve total darkness indoors, while air conditioning in the summer will help you feel sleepy.
Embracing optimal sleep quality
Try to establish a bedtime routine and follow it strictly. Your routine can include relaxation exercises, breathing, or meditation prior to sleep. A warm bath can also help instill that nice sleepy feeling. Avoid stimulating foods and beverages in the afternoon, and keep gadget use to a minimum in the evening.
Statistics indicate that sleep deprivation is particularly worrisome in teens so if this is an issue in your family, tackle it proactively. Peaceful bedroom design, the right bed, and calming colors can help you associate your bedroom with rest. Adopt good sleep hygiene practices and try to exercise every day so you feel tired and more inclined to fall asleep quickly.