Before we get into Alan's article, check out this YouTube video on GTN (Global Triathlon Network) on how long some of the pros sleep below. Sleep is extremely important to your body recovering. LeBron James reportedly aims to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. This can be a tough one for a LOT of us that aren't professional athletes that have to juggle a full-time job and family along with our exercise. However, there have been several studies that have found that sleep is one of the most efficient tools for muscle recovery. Check it out! Maybe you'll find new motivation to sleep a few extra minutes. - Charlotte Athlete
Now for Alan Tyson's article and sleep quiz. Let us know how you're doing!
Sleep Quiz: How Well Are You Sleeping? See the Answers to These 10 questions
1. How often do you get at least 7 to 8 hours of continuous sleep?
If you're an adult, shoot for the recommended amount of at least 7 to 8 hours each night to feel your best. Seniors may need less sleep to stay alert during the day. They tend to get sleepy earlier and wake up earlier than younger adults.
Be mindful that your growing children need even more snooze time: teens require 910 hours per night and typically get sleepy later and wake up later than adults. Children in elementary school may require 10 to 12 hours a night. As for infants, they sleep a leisurely 16 hours per day.
2. How often do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
What keeps you up at night? Job, health, school, or family issues? Fretting about your problems can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. To thwart those stressors at bedtime, set aside a specific worry time, for example, 30 minutes after dinner to jot down concerns and what you can do about them. Also, practice good sleep habits. Don't exercise for at least three hours before bedtime. Avoid eating heavy meals late in the day. Beware of drinking alcohol before bedtime. It can awaken you in the middle of the night.
3. How often do you wake up feeling very tired?
Quantity isn't enough -- when it comes to sleep, you also need good quality shut-eye. If you wake up refreshed, you're probably getting both. If you wake up tired, you're getting poor sleep, which can stem from too much caffeine, stress, depression, changes in work shifts, or pain, including arthritis. Talk to your health care provider if you wake up feeling tired more days than not.
4. How often do you take naps in the day because you're tired?
Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison prized their afternoon naps. To boost your alertness, consider taking a 20- to 30-minute nap during the day. Short naps are best, taken before 3 p.m. This works for professional athletes such as LeBron James and Roger Federer. People who take long naps late in the day sometimes struggle to fall asleep at night. Long and frequent naps may be a sign of a medical problem and should be discussed with your health care provider.
5. If you have children, how often do they get you up at night?
When the little darlings won't stay in bed at night, try these tips. Explain to your children that they have a set bedtime and stick to it. Plan a quiet bedtime routine every night, such as reading a book or listening to quiet music. If your kids come to your bed during the night, lead them back to their own rooms, then praise and reward them later with stickers, small toys, or other prizes for staying in their own beds.
6. How often do you watch TV in bed?
Late-night reruns, anyone? Keeping a TV or computer in your bedroom is a surefire way to distract yourself from a refreshing night's sleep. Try to use your bedroom only for sleeping. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark. Mask noise with a fan or use earplugs.
7. How often do you drink coffee or caffeinated sodas and tea in the afternoon?
Anything that contains caffeine -- coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate, even certain over-the-counter drugs -- can keep you awake because caffeine is a stimulant. Order decaf if you crave a cup of coffee or tea in the late afternoon or after dinner. It's best to avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime.
8. How often do you have an alcoholic drink before bedtime?
That nightcap may help you fall asleep -- alcohol is a depressant, after all -- but it won't help you stay asleep. Once your body metabolizes it, you can undergo a "withdrawal syndrome" that causes awakenings, nightmares, and sweats. You might also think that it's relaxing to smoke a cigarette before bedtime, but nicotine is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep.
9. How often does your partner say you snore?
Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that happens when your breathing is interrupted during sleep. Other symptoms: sudden awakenings with gasping or choking sensations, dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up, and daytime sleepiness. Treatment can bring back restful sleep, so tell your doctor if your bed partner says you snore frequently.
10. How often do you use a prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid?
Prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids can help you to fall asleep or stay asleep. But be sure to tell your doctor what you're taking, and follow directions carefully. Some sleeping pills shouldn't be taken every night for a long period of time. For a safe night's sleep, don't mix sleep aids with alcohol, and never drive a car or run any machinery after you've taken the medication.
Always plan ahead for what you are going to eat
Obtain adequate amounts of protein
Work on Flexibility
Supplement your diet with a fish oil and multi-vitamin