Love it or hate it, sleep is something we all need so that we can rest our minds and prepare for a new day ahead. Despite its immense impact on our lives, many people may not put much thought into their sleep routines, simply going through the motions of the sleeping rhythm to which their bodies have become accustomed. However, you can take control of several different factors surrounding your sleep habits to create your optimal environment for restful sleep and ensure that you are sleeping the perfect amount to keep your body and mind functioning at their highest capacities.
Optimal Sleep Conditions
The specific comforts of a sleeping environment will vary from person to person based on preference, but several parameters are generally agreed upon by professionals as the ideal conditions to help you fall asleep initially as well as facilitate the most restful sleep possible throughout the night.
The first parameter recommended by health professionals for optimal sleep conditions is darkness. It may be difficult to achieve complete darkness in your room, especially for those who feel uneasy in the dark, but simply striving to make the environment as dark as possible will help you fall asleep easier and increase the quality of your sleep as well.
Free from light exposure, your body begins to produce a chemical called melatonin, which sends a signal to your brain letting it know it’s time to rest. The production of melatonin is a part of the human body’s circadian rhythm or the day-night cycle. As you wake up in the morning, sunlight, phone screens, lamps, and any light source help to energize your body and make you feel more alert. Exposing your body to this same light after sunset throws off its natural sleeping cycle by promoting wakefulness when the melatonin in your body would normally be helping you wind down to prepare for sleep. Thus, laying down in a dark room is the ideal way to achieve a good night’s rest.
The second condition necessary to promote restful sleep is silence, or something close to it. Noise can make it difficult to fall asleep, but, more importantly, it can disrupt your sleep cycle after you have already been asleep. Ambient noises in the night from your house or apartment or especially from outside if you live in an urban area may interrupt your sleep and negatively impact the quality of your rest.
There are several ways to avoid auditory disruptions. Consider turning off your phone completely at night or placing it on do not disturb to eliminate the possibility of notifications waking you. A white noise machine, fan, air purifier, or anything that creates background noise will help to drown out external disruptions and keep you asleep longer as well.
The final recommendation to create your perfect sleeping environment has to do with temperature. This is a widely debated topic that mostly depends on personal preference, but a majority of medical professionals suggest a dark, quiet, and cool room as the best conditions to achieve a restful night of sleep.
The optimal sleeping temperature falls between 60 and 67°F, with the generally recommended prime temperature being 65°F. Because your body temperature decreases as you fall asleep, lowering the room temperature helps your body know that it’s time to rest and settle into sleep faster and easier. Although for some, the optimal temperature for sleeping can be found by simply sticking one foot out of the sheets.
Optimal Hours of Sleep By Age
As the human body matures, its needs gradually change along with it. Among these changes is the amount of sleep required to operate at your highest capacity both physically and cognitively. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following guidelines for the optimal sleep times of each age group:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
- Infant (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
- School-age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
- Teen (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
- Adult (18-64 years): 7-9 hours
- Older adult (65+ years): 7-8 hours
Babies, toddlers, children, and teenagers require more sleep than adults because their bodies are still growing and developing. However, sleep is essential to bodily function at every age; meaning that, even though adults technically require less sleep, resting peacefully should still be a priority in maintaining physical and mental health.
18-64 years old is a huge range, and there are plenty of factors outside of your age group that may lead you to require more or less sleep than your peers, such as chronic illnesses, mental health issues, or even unusual work schedules. One of the best ways to discern your optimal sleep time is through trial and error. Observe how different amounts of sleep make you feel and adjust your schedule accordingly to accommodate your body’s natural needs. Signs of sleep deprivation to be on the lookout for are:
- Feeling drowsy throughout the day
- Irritability or mood swings
- Decreased focus, productivity, and cognitive function
- A “tired look” - dark circles under the eyes, pale or dull complexion
- Increased appetite or caffeine intake
A 2003 study on sleep patterns and sleep restriction found that the optimal amount of sleep for most adults may tip more in the direction of 9 hours than 7 hours. If you think you are someone who only needs a few hours of sleep each night, there is a possibility that your brain has merely adapted to functioning with less sleep and is not working at its true capacity as a result, essentially rendering you sleep restricted. A couple of extra hours of sleep per night could greatly improve your focus and help your brain get back to firing on all cylinders again. Keep this in mind as you figure out the perfect sleep pattern to boost your cognitive and physical health.
Why Sleeping Enough is Important
Finding your optimal sleeping schedule is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while taking care of your body and mind. Failure to get enough sleep has several adverse effects on your overall health and well-being, such as increasing the risk of developing chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, finding your perfect sleep sweet spot can greatly improve your mental health and productivity while strengthening your body’s immune system and promoting better metabolism.
Adverse Effects of Sleep Deprivation
- Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes
- Lower cognitive function, focus, productivity
- Linked to mental health issues like depression and anxiety
- Weight gain and slower metabolism
Benefits of Increased Sleep
- Increased cognitive and physical function (reaction times, athletic performance, focus)
- Proper regulation of hormones leading to better metabolism
- Improve moods and promote mental health
- Strengthened immune system
If you want to adhere to a healthy sleeping schedule but find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night, consider trying a sleep optimizer such as our all-natural Rest Capsule with CBD and Melatonin. These two simple and natural ingredients combine to assist you not only in drifting off to restful sleep but also in staying asleep for the entire duration of the night.
Unlike pharmaceutical sleep aids, Rest by Vitaldiol enhances your innate sleep function by increasing melatonin levels and helping maintain your body’s equilibrium. Take the stress and worry out of your nightly routine with this straightforward sleep supplement.