How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles.
Many people want to sleep as little as possible-or feel like we have to. There are so many things that seem more interesting or important than getting a few more hours of sleep. Sleeping is very important for our health, just exercise and nutrition are not enough. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body and brain shut off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological maintenance tasks that make you running in top condition and prepare you for the day ahead. If you not have enough sleep, you’re like a car in need of an oil change. You won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service” and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
A good sleep must be seen on both the number of hours in the bed and the quality of those hours of sleep.. If you’re giving yourself plenty of time for sleep, but you’re still having trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep-especially deep sleep and REM sleep. By understanding how the sleep cycles run and the factors that can cause those cycles being disrupted, you’ll be able to start getting both the quantity and the quality of sleep like you need.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than 7 hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, 6 or 7 hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In fact, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap. That means if we not sleep enough in the night, we should take naps to compensate for the lack of time.
For more detail information to each group of ages, see the box below:
Average Sleep Needs
|Newborns (0-2 months)||12 – 18|
|Infants (3 months to 1 year)||14 – 15|
|Toddlers (1 to 3 years)||12 – 14|
|Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)||11 – 13|
|School-aged children (5 to 12 years)||10 – 11|
|Teens and preteens (12 to 18 years)||8.5 – 10|
|Adults (18+)||7.5 – 9|