How Much Sleep Does the Body Really Need?
There's nothing quite like the energized feeling of waking up after a good night's sleep. It's a feeling that often eludes us. Despite the old adage that your body needs 8 hours of sleep to recharge, many of us practice poor sleep habits and have a general misconception around what our bodies need in order to achieve our optimal mood, cognitive function, and health.
How Much Sleep Should You Get?
According to The Sleep Foundation, sleep ranges actually change with age. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need significantly more sleep than teens and adults, a clear indicator of the importance of sleep to growing bodies. Infants and babies need around 12-15 hours of sleep per day. The range for adults is an unsurprising 7-9 hours but it's important to note that individual variability may mean that you need more or less sleep than a family member.
Determining how much sleep is ideal for your body requires some conscious reflection and a little bit of tracking. Pay attention to what time you go to sleep and what time you wake up. How does your body respond to different amounts of sleep? Do you notice your mood, energy, and stress levels changing significantly if you get more or less sleep on a given night? Be sure to use recommended sleep ranges as your starting point.
Why is Sleep So Important?
The Sleep Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and medical professionals everywhere agree that prioritizing sleep is a necessity. Why? Well, sleep is tied to well-being, emotional and mental health, and cognitive function. Poor sleep can lead to weight gain, caffeine dependency, forgetfulness, and even put you at risk for some diseases. Put yourself first with a sleep schedule that supports your body's needs. Worried about your sleep habits? It’s always best to consult with your doctor but here are some other helpful tips when dealing with sleep issues.
What Should Your Sleep Schedule Look Like?
The best way to ensure consistently good sleep is to build and follow a routine. Winding down for the night can take many forms but here are a few easy and effective steps you can take to nail down your sleep schedule:
- Take a pre-bedtime bath with aromatherapeutic bath salts
- Stretch before bed and exercise daily
- Consider reading or meditating before lights out
- Turn off all electronics 30 minutes prior to bedtime
Getting a great night's sleep doesn't have to be impossible. Sleep health just takes a little mindfulness and habit forming. With a consistent sleep schedule, you can reduce stress, improve memory and even enhance your mood! Interested in getting on a better sleep schedule? Check out this helpful resource.
How do you sleep best? What’s your herbal tea that does the trick? Share your tips with us in the comments or on social media, @GreenGooHelps.