As you probably already know, rest and sleep are crucial for the overall health and development and in order to maintain the energy and mental clarity throughout the whole day, you need to know how much sleep you need, that is, how many hours per day you should sleep.
For that purpose, Charles Czeisler, a Harvard professor, together with other experts, conducted a research to determine the amount of sleep a person needs according to their age. There were several studies done between the period of 2004 and 2014. The end results helped create the following list:
Newborn babies from 0 to 3 months need 14 to 17 hours
Babies from 4 to 11 months need 12 to 15 hours
Children from 1 to 2 years need 11 to 14 hours
Preschoolers from 3 to 5 years need 10 to 13 hours
Primary and secondary school children from 6 to 13 years need 9 to 11 hours
Teens from 14 to 17 years need 8 to10 hours
Youth from 18 to 25 years need 7 t o 9 hours
Adults from 26 to 64 years need 7 to 9 hours
Seniors over the age of 65 need 7 to 8 hours
It’s important to note that these hourly rates are approximate and that the amount of needed rest depends on the person in question. However, if the sleeping hours are too low, this could cause serious health problems. Namely, when a person is deprived of sleep and rest, they won’t only be physically tired, but they will also have a problem focusing, making decisions, thinking clearly, and their appetite will lower.
Unfortunately, when a person sleeps less than 5 hours per night they’re at a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, whereas less than 7 hours can lead to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. The contributing factors to lack of sleep can be stress and technology.
That is, stress is known to release too much cortisol, known as the stress hormone, and when its levels are too high, it causes sleeplessness. Additionally, when we use gadgets like tablets and smartphones prior to sleep, the light which they emit prevents the brain from releasing enough melatonin which controls the sleep and wake cycles.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE REALLY NEED?
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.
Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.
To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interferes with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle.
Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.
Improve Your Sleep Today: Make Sleep a Priority
To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep.
Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, “How often do I get a good night’s sleep?” Like good diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health.
To pave the way for better sleep, follow these simple yet effective healthy sleep tips, including:
- Stick to asleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice arelaxing bedtime ritual.
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
- Turn off electronics before bed.
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.
You may also try using the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.
Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.