Lack of good quality sleep has been prevalent, especially during the past couple of years
Many factors affect sleep quality and sleep quantity, and insufficient sleep may lead to sleep problems
How much sleep you need varies by age and lifestyle, but generally, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night
The health benefits of sleep are far-reaching, specifically on our cognitive, cardiovascular, and immune systems.
According to a 2020 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, more than one-third of U.S. adults feel sleepy on average three times a week. And the solution for 62% of respondents? They’re simply trying to “shake it off.” 
While the past few years has certainly seen increased disrupted sleep for many people, a variety of factors impact sleep. For instance, what you eat and drink can lead to poor sleep, as well as napping, engaging in stimulating activity before bed, your sleep environment, and (of course!) stress.
Regardless of what might cause sleep issues, the importance of consistent, quality sleep remains vital to human health. In fact, sleep affects both our physical and mental health and is essential to everyday functioning. But why is sleep important? How much sleep do you need? And what are the health benefits of getting adequate sleep?
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
As a quick refresher, it helps to understand your sleep/wake cycle (called the circadian rhythm), the 24-hour cycle of chemicals and hormones in the body that determine when you fall asleep and wake up. As part of this cycle, the body’s production of melatonin —the hormone that promotes sleep—increases as it gets dark and decreases as it gets light. Your sleep cycle focuses on the four stages of sleep that include dozing off and subdued stages, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Truly restorative sleep involves moving smoothly from one stage of the sleep cycle to the next. Typically, you progress through four to six rounds of the sleep cycle every night. 
So, how much sleep do you need? While a magic number of exact sleep minutes you need, to make sure you wake up refreshed, doesn’t exist, you can follow some simple guidelines. Keep in mind, though, that age and lifestyle play a role in the amount of sleep you need, too. Experts at the National Sleep Foundation recommend following these guidelines for how much sleep you need every day. 
To make sure you’re getting enough sleep, you should practice good sleep hygiene. Simply put, you can make healthy lifestyle changes to improve your sleep pattern. Examples include establishing a consistent bedtime routine, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, paying attention to what you eat and drink (and when), as well as limiting screen time at night within two hours before bedtime.
If you’re struggling with sleep issues, you might also consider natural sleep aids (such as those containing Melatonin) to promote sleep. Some newer supplements, like Nature Made Sleep Longer™, combines Melatonin, GABA, and to help relax your mind, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. Another new supplement, Nature Made’s Back to Sleep, combines just the right balance of Melatonin, L-Theanine, and GABA to help you relax and quickly fall back to sleep.
As an essential bodily function, sleep helps you recharge both mentally and physically. How important is sleep? Playing a pivotal role in nearly every body function, healthy sleep helps to maintain your well-being in the following ways. [4,5,6]
Lower the risk of injuries (particularly car accidents from drowsy driving)
“Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness, and mood,” writes Dr. Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at National Institutes of Health. Mitler goes on to say that sleep affects more than cognitive functioning—it also impacts growth and stress hormones, your appetite, breathing, your immune system and heart health. 
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
A variety of factors impact sleep, affecting both your sleep quality and sleep quantity. These internal and external factors influence how often you wake up throughout the night and how much deep sleep you get and therefore how rested you feel when you wake up. Consult with your primary care physician to see if taking a sleep supplement like sleep gummies is right for you.
Studies show that poor sleep can lead to reduced efficiency, lower productivity, errors, and accidents. 
The Bottom Line
With today’s busy lifestyle many people are not getting enough sleep. A variety of factors influence your sleep quality and sleep quantity. How much sleep you need varies by age and lifestyle, but generally, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Why is sleep so important? The health benefits of sleep affect your physical and mental health, including cognitive and heart health.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications
Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.