Improve Your Health by Catching Some Z’s—Make Sleep a Priority

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping. From birth, sleeping is a major part of our routine. Sleep allows us to rejuvenate and refuel. There are different theories about how much sleep we need, based on many factors—from age to gender to levels of physical activity.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a two-year study to establish recommended sleep times for ideal “sleep health.” Because sleep needs vary across ages and are impacted by lifestyle habits, the study highlighted the importance of assessing external factors, such as work schedules and stress, that could be influencing the quality and quantity of your sleep.

While it’s important to pay attention to your unique needs by assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep, research has narrowed the recommended windows of time for all age groups. The National Sleep Foundation outlines these categories for optimal sleep health:

  • Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
  • Infants (4–11 months): 12–15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11–14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10–13 hours
  • School-age children (6–13): 9–11 hours
  • Teenagers (14–17): 8–10 hours
  • Younger adults (18–25): 7–9 hours
  • Adults (26–64): 7–9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours

Sleep is a crucial component to your overall health. When it comes to prioritizing your time, a good night’s sleep should be part of your everyday routine. To improve your sleep, here are simple tips.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
  • Exercise daily
  • Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound, and light
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Beware of hidden sleep stealers, such as alcohol and caffeine
  • Turn off electronics before bed