As we age, we need less and less sleep to be able to function normally. According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns need the most, up to eighteen hours per day. Infants from three to eleven months need about fourteen to fifteen hours, toddlers need twelve to fourteen. Skip ahead to children up to age ten, and they still need ten to eleven hours. Teens need at least eight, up to nine, and adults need between seven and nine hours.
For kids and teens, they need this larger quantity of sleep for a few reasons: first they are growing. Children do the most growing at night, while they are asleep. It’s also the time when muscles repair themselves, and cells regenerate. Secondly, the mind processes all the learning that was done during the day at night. Not getting enough sleep can affect short term memory, which in turn can affect test scores and school performance. Those late night cramming sessions may not be as beneficial as we all thought that they were! Thirdly, have you been around a kid that hasn’t gotten enough sleep? Protect your own sanity, and make sure that your kids are getting the sleep that they need.
Now, adults. Those of us who don’t sleep enough have a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and depression. There is an increased risk of getting into an accident, both in the car and at work, and a decreased ability to pay attention and remember things.
We live in a society that seems to reward lack of sleep. In my home, it seems like no one ever sleeps well, and we are always trying to one-up each other about who slept less. It seems to me that you are looked down upon if you sleep too much (which may only be eight hours), and you’re considered to be lazy and less productive.
It may be that there is too much stimulation, too many things to do and check up on. Most of us are working more than 40 hours per week, sometimes from home. We need to catch up with our kids, our housework, our email, Facebook, and twitter. I know that in my home, I often don’t get a moment to myself until my kids are in bed and asleep, and this can sometimes be as late as 10pm. Although I’m tired, I still want to respond to an email, enjoy the peace and quiet, or watch a movie with my husband. I feel like I’ve earned that relaxation time, and am willing to forgo sleep to be able to wind down. Check out this infographic, it’s the story of my life:
This blog is great at telling you what you should be getting, but is all this information going to change your sleeping habits in the real world? Probably not. So, instead of telling you what your body needs, I’m going to tell you how to make the most of what you’re already getting:
- Buy a new bed if you need to, one that supports you well and relieves pressure. Pick one that dampens motion disturbance, and is a large enough size (like a king for two people). My blanket recommendation, regardless of how you sleep and what size and age you are is the Renewed Energy by Comforpedic. I know, I’m predictable.
- For that “me” time at the end of the night, turn off the TV, the laptop, and the cell phone. Pick up a book, or take a bath. These activities can help you fall asleep easier and faster, rather than keep you awake.
- Try to change your kid’s sleep timers. If they have trouble getting up in the morning (or sleeping until noon on the weekends), put them to bed earlier at night. This can be hard with teens, but have them keep a sleep journal, detailing (honestly) how much they slept, how easy it was to get up, and how they felt during the day. If your toddler gets cranky in the afternoon, re-introduce the nap, or move up bed time.
- Stay away from sugary snacks in the evening, even that bowl of ice cream. For both kids and adults, it can keep you awake longer than you want to be.
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to help you get a better night’s sleep, chances are that they’re sleep deprived too. It’s for your health, your longevity, and your attitude.
Amazing Facts on Sleep :
10 Interesting Craziest Facts about Sleep – Take a look