Want the secrets of longevity – living and feeling younger than your actual age? Many resort to extreme measures such as drastic dieting, surgeries, and various injectables.

However, they tend to overlook the significance of small, controllable factors. 

Longevity isn’t just about the number of years you live; it’s about maximizing the years of your life where you’re healthy, often referred to as “health span.”

I want to shed light on one of the things we can do to enhance our health span.

In our life journey, genetics lay the groundwork, but our day-to-day choices—sleep, physical activity, nutrition, mental well-being, purpose in life, social circle and managing chronic conditions—hold considerable sway. This blog zeroes in on sleep, a fundamental part of our daily routine with significant implications for our health and how we live our years.

Scientific research consistently emphasizes the harmful effects of inadequate sleep on health. Chronic sleep deprivation intertwines with:

  • Various physical and mental health issues
  • Compromising immune function
  • Disrupting hormonal balance
  • And increasing the risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

It also negatively impacts cognitive functions, such as memory and decision-making.

Start with Age-Specific Sleep Recommendations for Longevity

So with sleep being so important, how much do we actually need? It actually depends on your age. But for most, sleeping a bit longer can mean living healthier longer. So let’s see what the data indicates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides age-specific sleep recommendations:

  • Newborn (0–3 months): 14–17 hours per day (National Sleep Foundation); no specific recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine).
  • Infant (4–12 months): 12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • School Age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours per 24 hours.
  • Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours per 24 hours.
  • Adult (18–60 years): 7 or more hours per night.
  • 61–64 years: 7–9 hours.
  • 65 years and older: 7–8 hours.

Before chasing after miracle solutions, take a good look at your sleep schedule; it’s the bedrock of overall well-being.

Sleep Hygiene – The Bedrock of Better Sleep for Longevity and Healthy Lifespan

If you’re falling short in the sleep side of living healthier, longer, then consider practical strategies to refine your sleep hygiene. Like other areas of personal hygiene, your sleep hygiene are the little daily things you do to take care of yourself for better sleep – both an adequate amount of sleep and higher quality sleep.

Think of all the things we do every day to take care of ourselves – from showers to skincare to brushing our teeth. Sleep is just as important, but we tend to barely think about what we should be doing for our sleep, despite it being so critical our health, wellbeing, mood, cognitive ability, and our longevity. Especially what we do in that final hour or so of the day to set ourselves up for good sleep.

Is there any wonder so many of us struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up rested?

While the sleep improvement arena is loaded with advice, from optimizing your sleep environment to crafting a calming bedtime routine, my approach is personal and introspective. I encourage my clients to start with bringing awareness to their current sleep duration—a crucial step toward enhanced well-being.

Once you’ve got your sleep baseline, shift your focus to recognizing and addressing barriers hindering adequate sleep. Including the things disrupting your hormonal and mental shift into a sleep promoting mode instead of a sleep disrupting one.

It’s a deliberate, gradual process, with an emphasis on tackling hurdles within your control. For instance, if you consistently log only 6 hours of sleep, try implementing gradual adjustments, like shifting your sleep schedule by 15 minutes every 3-5 days, making the transition smoother. We can also get more aware of what might be amping us up before bed, instead of lulling us into being sleep-ready before we even hit the bed. And then paying attention to what little things we can do that most relax us at the end of a long day.

We aren’t all the same, and even the CDC recommendations are only averages. So I recommend observing how your body responds to different sleep durations—check energy levels and assess self-care tendencies. And seeing what works best for you to promote sleepiness in the hour before bed, or which of the many sleep hack recommendations actually work best for you.

Raising awareness about the negative impacts of sleep deprivation becomes a powerful motivator for change. This heightened consciousness is your foundation for a sustainable journey toward improved sleep, overall well-being, and increased lifespan.

Looking to live healthier longer? We take a personalized, holistic approach to each client, helping you find what works best for you and providing expert guidance. Book with us today to begin your journey to a healthier you »

Written by Emina Suta, RDN



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