Most studies show that adults require 7-8 hours of healthy sleep per night for optimal health. But anecdotal evidence shows us that some people are healthy and very productive averaging only 6 hours per night and other people, especially during times of healing, may require 9 hours per night.

So there is not a set rule here – but sleeping less than 7-8 hours is not advised when your body is in a healing process. You need to allow your body the time to regenerate and to release valuable hormones. If you are deprived of sleep you will be less capable of maintaining your health – you will be more likely to have food cravings and more likely to succumb to them. Lack of sleep will also rob your body and your brain of valuable resources for healing and for coping with stress.

The quality of your sleep is equally important to the amount of time you sleep. If you are in bed from midnight until 9 a.m. but spend 1 hour restlessly trying to fall asleep, then another hour awakened during the night, and a final hour snoozing after your alarm goes off – you are not getting 7 hours of a healthy sleep cycle.

Many of us know that with young kids, dogs, and other interruptions, it’s not always possible to sleep continuously for 8 hours. But following a few tips and developing healthy sleep habits will help you to achieve the best possible sleep.

On the other hand, if you go overboard and spend too much time sleeping or trying to sleep, this may be counterproductive as well. It can create a foggy, dazed feeling as well as deprive you of valuable time. Even an extra half an hour in your day may allow you time to prepare a healthy recipe or use a healthy tool like an exercise routine, a detoxifying bath or a sweat treatment. Gentle exercise or other relaxation treatments rejuvenate mind and body. Even 20 minutes of deep relaxation, such as lying in “corpse pose” after a yoga routine, makes a healthy substitute for an extra hour of sleep.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Cleary, Masters in Social Work, and Jo delAmor, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, are natural health advocates and educators. Visit Whole Body Detox Diet for tools and guidelines for creating a safe, effective and gentle detox diet that’s just right for you. Sign up for your Free Detox Diet Startup Kit to receive step by step guidance for creating your customized detox diet plan using whole foods, herbs, and therapies.