We know physical activity and good nutrition are vital to keeping our bodies healthy. But don’t forget about a good night’s sleep! The importance of sleep and its health benefits cannot be overlooked. Let’s see what makes sleep so important and how we can get the most out of it.
Why is sleep so important?
Not only is sleep necessary, but getting enough of it has many health benefits. Getting a good night’s sleep can:
- Boost your energy levels
- Help you maintain a healthy weight
- Boost your immune system
- Lower stress and improve your mood
- Improve your concentration and productivity
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep that you need changes with age. Each person requires a different amount of sleep each night. Pay attention to how you feel with different amounts of sleep. Here are the recommended amounts from the National Sleep Foundation.
- Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours
- Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
- Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours
- Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours
- School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours
- Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours
- Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7 to 8 hours
How can I sleep better?
Once you figure out your sleep needs, try some of these tips to have a good night’s sleep more often.
Keep a sleep schedule
You may have heard this before, but a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, including on the weekends, will help you get enough sleep more often. Life gets in the way but stick to the schedule as much as possible. Once your body is used to the schedule, it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up.
Make small changes
If your sleep schedule is not ideal, don’t try to make it perfect overnight. Instead, make small adjustments to your sleep schedule over time until you reach your goal. For example, if you want to get to sleep by 10:00 PM, but usually go to bed at midnight, start by going to bed at 11:45 PM the first few nights then 11:30 PM the next few nights and so on. Use the same strategy for your wake-up time.
Physical activity can help you sleep better and longer. Find opportunities to be physically active most days to improve your sleep!