"Sleep Health"

Sleep Health is a relatively new field of research exploring how we sleep and the factors that impact it. It is not easily defined, but information about sleep health can be divided into four broad categories.

Science

The nuts and bolts behind biology and chemistry of sleep that won’t require a PhD to understand.

Explore

Click a body part to learn more about how sleep effects it.

Brain

Cerebral spinal fluid is pumped more quickly throughout the brain while you sleep. It acts like a dishwasher, whisking away waste products that brain cells make. So you wake up with, quite literally, a clean slate.

Heart

One body part that gets a break during sleep is your heart. Your ticker works hard during the day, so at night during non-REM sleep it takes some pressure off itself by reducing heart rate, as well as blood pressure.

Lungs

When you’re awake, your breathing patterns vary greatly. You’ll breathe faster when excited and harder while exercising, for example. But during sleep, your breathing slows down and becomes very regular.

Stomach

Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan that causes sleepiness. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy.

Muscles

While you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that work to rebuild muscles and joints. The more sleep you get, the better equipped your body will be to repair itself.

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Bedroom

Where you sleep matters. Design a bedroom that will help you drift off into dreamland.

Touch

91 of Americans change their sheets every two weeks.

See

35 of Americans don’t use bedroom curtains or shades.

Hear

5 of Americans use a sound conditioner in their bedrooms.

Smell

91 of Americans prefer sheets with a fresh scent.

Taste

78 of Americans have at least one caffeinated beverage a day.

Lifestyle

From work to weekend schedules, our everyday lives impact our sleep…and vice versa.

Snooze Foods & Pick-Me-Ups

Tryptophan

Tryptophan causes sleepiness. Proteins from the food we eat are the building blocks of tryptophan, which is why the best bedtime snack is one that contains both a carbohydrate and protein such as cereal with milk.

Nature's Sleeping Pill

Melatonin

Melatonin helps control your sleep-wake cycles. Your body’s internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) influences how much melatonin your body makes, as does the amount of light that you're exposed to each day.

Sex: Sleep Aid or Thief?

Sex

Sex = good for sleep. It boosts oxytocin (a hormone that makes you feel connected to your partner) and lowers cortisol (a stress-related hormone). Plus, orgasms release prolactin, which help you feel relaxed and sleepy.

That Afternoon Coffee Jolt

Caffeine

Generally, caffiene lasts for 5 to 6 hours in the body before wearing off. So cut out the coffee after early afternoon so that you can start to wind down in time for bedtime.

Stay Sharp

Reaction Time

Sleep improves your ability to make more accurate split-second decisions by about four percent. Hey, it may not sound like much, but every little bit helps!

Work Out, Sleep Better

Exercise

It doesn't matter when you hit the gym, just that you get in your daily burn. People who work out regularly sleep better—and longer—than those who don't.

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Age

Sleep needs change as we age. Discover the hows and whys so that you can get back to those restful nights.

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Newborns

Newborns less than two months old sleep between 12 and 18 hours each day.

Infants

Infants (between 3 and 11 months old) sleep between 14 and 15 hours each day.

Toddlers

Toddlers (between 1 and 3 years old) sleep between 12 and 14 hours each day.

Preschoolers

Preschoolers (between 3 and 5 years old) sleep between 11 and 13 hours each day.

School Age Children

School-aged children (5 to 10 years old) need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each day.

Teens

Teens (11 to 17 years old) need 8.5 to 9.5 hours each day to feel their best.

Young Adults

Young Adults (18 to 25 years old) need 7 to 9 hours each day to feel their best.

Adults

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day to feel their best.

Older Adults

Older Adults (65 years and older) need 7 to 8 hours each day to feel their best.

Newborns

Newborns less than two months old sleep between 12 and 18 hours each day.

Infants

Infants (between 3 and 11 months old) sleep between 14 and 15 hours each day.

Toddlers

Toddlers (between 1 and 3 years old) sleep between 12 and 14 hours each day.

Preschoolers

Preschoolers (between 3 and 5 years old) sleep between 11 and 13 hours each day.

School Age Children

School-aged children (5 to 10 years old) need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each day.

Teens

Teens (11 to 17 years old) need 8.5 to 9.5 hours each day to feel their best.

Young Adults

Young Adults (18 to 25 years old) need 7 to 9 hours each day to feel their best.

Adults

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day to feel their best.

Older Adults

Older Adults (65 years and older) need 7 to 8 hours each day to feel their best.

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What Kind of
Sleeper Are You?