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Sleep: Foundations of Health


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Sleep: Foundations of Health

Regular sleep habits are a foundational component of everyday well-being and health, but it can be hard to maintain these habits with so many external factors interrupting a good night’s slumber. Recognize how many hours you should be dozing every night and consider the many ways you can improve the quality of your sleep.

Recommended Hours of Sleep

Sleep is very important to help your body heal and your mind sort out what has happened throughout your day. Different ages require different amounts of sleep but getting 8 hours of shuteye is common with all age groups. Below are the recommended hours by age range according to the National Sleep Foundation:

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

Improving Your Sleep Quality

One way you can increase the quality of your snooze is by having good sleep hygiene. This includes discontinuing any electronics for at least an hour before bed, using a night filter on your electronics as soon as the sun sets and having a night time ritual where you wind down (e.g. you can take a bath, meditate, or read a novel). Another thing that may help you go to sleep easier would be using a white noise machine to drown out outside noises – the various sounds are very similar to the sounds of the ocean, which can be very relaxing.

You should also consider sleeping in a dark room with no lights on. Electronics emit a blue light, which throws off our circadian rhythm and suppresses the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies make to help us get into deep sleep to heal and recover. This becomes difficult especially with the compounding effect of the light throwing off our body. Exposure to any light while sleeping could do this, especially if it’s a blue light that can come from LED light bulbs. This is why complete darkness is recommended. If this isn’t possible, you can mimic having a dark room by using a mask.

This foundation is an awesome start in working towards your health goals, but if you have other underlying conditions, this is a good first step.

Check OUT our complete Foundations of Health series:

Diet

Activity

Stress Management

Adapted from a blog post by Dr. Charmagne Sia Lu, B.Sc. ND, Naturopathic Doctor

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