What You Need to Know About Healthy Sleep

In today’s fast-paced world, a good night’s sleep has become something of an indulgence. It’s fallen down our list of priorities behind work, chores, social time, and entertainment. However, sleep shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s as important to your physical and mental health as food and water.

The body’s need for sleep is a relatively new research field. Scientists are looking into what happens to the body during sleep and why the process itself is so essential. We do know that sleep is necessary to:

  • Maintain critical body functions
  • Restore energy
  • Repair muscle tissue
  • Allow the brain to process new information

We also know what happens when the body doesn’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause a range of mental and physical problems, including impairing your ability to think clearly, focus, react, and control emotions. This can result in serious problems in the workplace and at home.

Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk for serious health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It can also affect your immune system, reducing your body’s ability to fight off infections and disease.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Our sleep habits — and sleep needs — change as we age. According to recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation, you should aim to get the following amounts of sleep:

  • 65 and up: 7 to 8 hours
  • 18 to 64 years old: 7 to 9 hours
  • 14 to 17 years old: 8 to 10 hours
  • 6 to 13 years old: 9 to 11 hours

Younger children have even greater sleep needs:

  • 3 to 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours
  • 1 to 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours
  • 4 to 11 months old: 12 to 15 hours
  • 0 to 3 months old: 14 to 17 hours

Certain factors influence how much sleep you’ll need. Genetics can determine how long you sleep and how well you respond to sleep deprivation. The quality of sleep you get when you’re catching Zzz’s is also a factor in determining how much sleep you ultimately need each night.

Sleep Tips and Tricks

Healthy sleep may come down to tricking your body (and your brain) into having better, longer, and more restorative downtime. Here are a few ideas for boosting sleep quality and duration:

  • Establish a sleep routine: Having a regular bedtime and sticking to it can train your body to get better sleep. Stick to a schedule even on weekends, holidays, and vacations.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom: Research shows that sleeping with pets can disrupt sleep quality.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day: Cut out caffeine-containing foods and beverages like tea, soft drinks, and chocolate in the afternoon and evening.
  • Limit screen time before bed: Put away electronic devices at least one hour before bed to reduce exposure to stimulating light.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed: Alcohol interferes with sleep patterns and can disrupt your rest.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent you from sleeping well on a regular basis. Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Sleep Apnea: When your airway gets blocked repeatedly during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy: Daytime “sleep attacks” characterized by sudden sleepiness or falling asleep without warning.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Sensation of needing to move your legs constantly.
  • Parasomnias: Abnormal behaviors during sleep, such as nightmares or sleepwalking.

Sleep Deprivation

Despite the importance of sleep, many adults do not get enough. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including:

  • Memory issues
  • Weakened immunity
  • Decreased libido
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Weight gain

Sleep Benefits

Good quality sleep can ward off short-term issues like fatigue and trouble concentrating and prevent long-term health issues like heart disease and depression. Benefits of good sleep include reduced inflammation, improved concentration, and decreased risk of chronic diseases.

Sleep Treatment

Short-term sleep problems may not need medical treatment and can be managed with lifestyle changes. Chronic sleep disturbances often require a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments.

Sleep Cycle

Understanding the sleep cycle is important for optimizing sleep. The two main types of sleep are rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is divided into four stages, while REM sleep is characterized by dreaming.

Sleep Anxiety

Anxiety can significantly impact sleep quality. Managing stress and anxiety through relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes can improve sleep.

Sleep Hormone

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Natural and supplemental melatonin can help promote healthy sleep patterns.

Sleep Regression

Babies may experience sleep regression around 4 months old, which is temporary and normal. Managing sleep regression involves ensuring proper feeding, adequate stimulation, and a dark sleeping environment.


At Comfort Nutrition Services, we believe that dietary and nutritional guidance plays a crucial role in achieving better sleep and overall health. If you’re struggling with sleep issues or seeking personalized nutrition advice, contact us today for expert support tailored to your needs.

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