The quality and quantity of your sleep effect your mind and body. Sleep impacts your ability to learn and remember, and it can influence your mood. Sleep also impacts your heart, hormones, and immune system. Lack of sleep can impair your ability to drive and do other tasks. Sleep is a key component to good health and performing at your best.
How Much Sleep Do I need?
How much sleep you need changes as you age. The following chart lists evidence-based recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation for every age group.
Healthy Sleep Habits
Incorporate these habits into your lifestyle to help promote restful and refreshing sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends
- Make your bedroom environment suitable for sleep: quiet, dark, and at a temperature that’s comfortable for you
- Keep your bedroom screen-free: No TVs, computers, or smartphones, and avoid screen-time with any device an hour or two before sleep to limit stimulation by blue light
- Don’t use tobacco or nicotine
- Avoid consuming large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed
- Move your body. Physical activity during the day is helpful for falling asleep at night, but be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime because it can keep you awake
Track Your Sleep
Keeping a sleep diary can help you understand if you are getting enough quality sleep. You can record the quality and quantity of your sleep along with: your use of medications, alcohol and caffeinated beverages, exercise patterns, and how sleepy you feel during the day. Reviewing the diary will help you see some of the patterns and practices that may keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Share your diary with your primary care provider, who can help you develop a better sleep routine or help determine if you have a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or narcolepsy.
For more evidence-based information on sleep, visit the following websites:
Medcor 4 Guiding Health Principles – www.Medcor.com/Sleep
American Academy of Sleep Medicine – www.AASM.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.CDC.gov/sleep
National Sleep Foundation – www.SleepFoundation.org
NHLBI Guide to Healthy Sleep – www.NHLBI.NIH.gov/Health-Topics/Publications-and-Resources