This Friday is Sleep Day. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of sleep. It’s vital to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. It’s during sleep that our bodies regenerate and our minds rest.

But did you know that sleep also plays a crucial role in many of our body’s essential functions?

Sleep plays a role in strengthening the immune system, in muscle regeneration… But also for brain function, particularly in memory consolidation and learning. When we sleep, our brains process and store new information, enabling us to memorize it efficiently.

Unfortunately, many people underestimate the importance of sleep, regarding it as a luxury rather than a necessity. Yet chronic sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for our health, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.

How much sleep is recommended for each age group?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, here are the new recommendations in terms of hours of sleep per age group:

Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours a day (previously 12-18 hours)
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (previously 14-15)
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (previously 12-14 hours)
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours (previously 11-13)
School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (previously 10-11)
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (previously 8.5-9.5 hours)
Young adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

How can you sleep better?

Maintain a stable sleep routine:

Try to go to bed at about the same time every night to help regulate your internal clock. Resist the temptation to sleep in on weekends. If you wake up at 6 a.m. on weekdays, try to get up no later than 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Changing your sleep schedule, even for just a few days, can disrupt your sleep rhythm, making it even harder to wake up on Monday morning.

Avoid caffeine and theine:

Coffee fans will be disappointed: it’s better to have your last espresso after lunch. Similarly, tea and cola drinks are best stopped after 4pm. Caffeine has been shown to lengthen the time it takes to fall asleep and shorten sleep time. Instead, drink a soothing herbal tea (lime blossom, verbena, chamomile or orange blossom).

No sport in the evening:

Sporting activity is excellent for your health, but it’s better to schedule your session during your lunch break rather than in the evening. After 7 p.m., body temperature begins to drop, a sign that the body is preparing for rest. By increasing the heart rate, exercise maintains a higher body temperature and wakes up the organism, disrupting its biological rhythm. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to practice during the day, take a lukewarm shower, and wait at least 2 hours after the end of your session to go to bed.

Eat a light meal:

Difficult digestion interferes with sleep, so avoid heavy dinners before bedtime. Instead, opt for lighter dishes that contain tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin, the hormone that induces tranquillity and helps you fall asleep! Finally, dine as early as possible (ideally, two hours before bedtime), as digestion increases body temperature.

Beware of screens:

Some activities are highly disruptive to sleep. Avoid television, video games and smartphones. These devices emit blue light close to daylight, which triggers the awakening mechanisms. Although there are now many “anti-blue light” smartphone applications, it’s best to banish screens from the bedroom.

A bedroom at the right temperature:

Optimize your comfort for a restful night’s sleep by maintaining the ideal temperature in your bedroom. Lower the temperature to around 19°C to create an environment conducive to sleep. A little-known but effective tip: keep your feet warm! Recent studies have shown that warming your extremities promotes vasodilation of small blood vessels, improving blood circulation and contributing to a faster, deeper sleep.

Darkness and silence:

For better sleep, it’s best to plunge your bedroom into complete darkness: close the shutters, invest in blackout curtains or put on a sleep mask. Silence is also essential for a good night’s sleep.

By following these simple tips, you can improve the quality of your sleep and enjoy the many benefits it brings to your overall health and well-being. Remember: sleep is essential for a healthy, balanced life.