It is vital to know that with increasing age; how much sleep is essential for you.
How Much Sleep Do We Need? According to scientific research, getting proper sleep is as important as food and the air we breathe in. Our body is a natural machine and like any other mechanical part, it needs its downtime to heal itself and more importantly function properly. Every age has its requirement of how much sleep is needed for an individual. This depends on how much downtime your body needs and how much time it needs to repair your systems. It is vital to know that with increasing age; how much of it is essential for you.
According to accepted bodies, a healthy adult needs 7 to 9 hours of it every night while young children and babies need more of it for proper growth and development. Elderly people 65 and above need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to give their bodies the rest their older bodies need.
Being aware of the general recommendations is the first step toward a healthier life. Only after knowing the general rule of thumb, you can reflect on your individual needs and activity levels, you can know how much rest you require. The requirements also change with your health conditions. Sick people or the ones with declining health generally need more amount of it. The quality of sleep is also essential as only that can rejuvenate your body.
Sleep Recommendations – Age Wise
Reference: Sleep Foundation
Generally, sleep times can be broken down into nine age groups. Each group is represented by the duration they need over a night for a healthy person. The groups are also given a range of a few hours, more or less, that may vary for an individual’s varying circumstances.
|Age Range||Recommended Hours of Sleep|
|Newborn||0-3 months old||14-17 hours|
|Infant||4-11 months old||12-15 hours|
|Toddler||1-2 years old||11-14 hours|
|Preschool||3-5 years old||10-13 hours|
|School-age||6-13 years old||9-11 hours|
|Teen||14-17 years old||8-10 hours|
|Young Adult||18-25 years old||7-9 hours|
|Adult||26-64 years old||7-9 hours|
|Older Adult||65 or more years old||7-8 hours|
Reference: Sleep Foundation
How Much Does Your Body Need?
The details mentioned in the table and chart and the generally accepted guidelines regarding how much downtime is required depending on your age group. However, the actual need for hours may vary from person to person. The guidelines are ranges of acceptable and needed time for rest, though still cannot be termed optimal times. A drastic variation may indicate something worn with your health or any abnormality that may require further evaluation.
Other than age, other factors affect the required sleeping hours.
- Quality of Sleep – having a frequently interrupted sleep will result in even more tiredness even if you are sleeping for more than the required hours. Not having sound sleep is equally injurious as is inadequate sleep.
- Lagging Sleep Deprivation – if you are constantly deprived, your sleep requirements increase.
- Pregnancy – Pregnancy takes a toll on your body thus, requiring you to sleep more. Also, hormonal changes and physical discomfort can reduce the quality of your sleep.
- Aging – with increasing age your body needs to rest more. The sleeping patterns change as well. With age, sleep becomes less dense and can be disturbed even with smaller interruptions. The elderly tends to wake up multiple times during the night.
How much rest is required?
While deciding how much sleep your body needs, you need to keep into account your daily activities, health, and your typical sleeping patterns. While making this evaluation you might ask yourself a few questions:
- How productive are you in your daily routines and do you feel content with your current sleeping hours?
- Do you have any health issues or do you feel you might have any underlying health issues that might put you at a higher risk for any fatal diseases?
- What is your daily energy expenditure? Have you been involved in any physical games or a labor-intensive job?
- Does your job require a higher alert level or do you drive or operate heavy machinery during the day?
- Do you have a history of sleep-related issues?
- Do you need caffeine to get through the day? How much do you require?
- While on a day off, do you sleep more than you usually do?
The answer to these questions can very well help you in finding the right amount of sleep your body craves for.
The Quality of Downtime
The type and quality of sleep that you have says also a lot about your health and certainly indicates how much of it you need. If you have interrupted or poor-quality pattern, you will still feel tired after getting the right hours of rest. With a good quality, you might need fewer hours to restart. Research shows that poor sleep quality and short duration can have various adverse effects on your body. Therefore, reflecting on how sound you sleep is just as important as how long you get to sleep. If you are always tired even after the right amount of lying down, you might want to get your patterns checked by a sleep professional.
Symptoms of Inadequate Sleep
Your body starts giving warning signs when it is not getting the rest it needs. If you are getting less than eight hours of sleep, there are good chances that you are sleep deprived which will affect your concentration level and health on the whole. Many evident signs might show that your body is sleep deprived. A few of them are:
- The immense need for an external stimulus to wake up
- Constantly relying on the snooze button
- Have difficulty getting out of bed
- Feeling sluggish in the afternoon
- Get sleepy in warm rooms, in lectures, or meetings
- Feeling drowsy while driving or after having heavy meals
- The need to nap more than once a day
- Falling asleep while watching TV
Make Your Sleep A Priority by Improving Its Quality
Sleep can be as systematic as you want it to be like any other important task. Once you have found how many hours of what you need, you can make it a goal and then start planning how to achieve it. The first step is making it a priority and not just a daily task. There are only 24 hours in a day. We have to budget and divide the time according to our needs.
This means making out proper time for it, you don’t need to trade-off between your social commitments, work, and other stuff. While cutting hours might sound appealing and you might have to do it more than often, in the long run, it does not pay off as it can exhaust you mentally and physically.
Improving your habits and hygiene, including your bedroom setting can help you in getting a sound sleep and ultimately better rest ritual. There are a few tips to improve your hygiene and overall quality:
- Stick to the same routine and sleeping hours every day to make it a habit
- Create a calming pre-bed routine that will make it easier for you to fall asleep
- Choose a good bed and comfortable mattress that supports your body well
- Dress your bed well with a good bedspread and best pillows
- Remove any distraction, sound, smell, or light, that might disrupt your sleep. Set the right room temperature that you are comfortable in.
- Disconnect yourself from using any electronic devices at least one hour before you go to bed.
- Do watch your caffeine intake and try avoiding that hour before going to bed.
Sleeping Patterns for Children
If you are a parent, you can use these same tips for your children to improve their sleeping patterns and help your child get the recommended amount of it. Putting your young one to sleep is a challenge within itself. Try using these tips for better results.
The entire motive here is to get it more that is of better quality. The numbers here won’t guarantee your win. Fortunately improving your habits and hygiene can not only get you the recommended amount of it but also can make you feel refreshed without having fragmented sleep.
If you are anyone of your family member is facing difficulty with their sleep, they might be showing various symptoms of it as well like, drowsiness throughout the day, excessive snoring, chronic insomnia, difficulty in breathing, etc. if any of these signs persist, it is time to consult a professional or healthcare provider to help you in finding the underlying causes.
You can try to keep a log or a diary record of your sleep and wake times. This can give a deep insight to your doctor and help in analyzing if you have ongoing sleep issues.
Sleep makes the foundation of one’s health – good or bad. While you may think your body is only at rest while you having it, in actuality your body is quite active while you are sleeping. During your sleep, the body rebuilds the worn-down muscles that are used throughout the day, removes toxins from the brain and the body, and flushes them out. It is actually amazing, it helps in keeping your memories intact and gaining better concertation levels. Moreover, it also has a direct impact on your emotions. It regulates our emotions and keeps them consistent, avoiding abrupt mood swings. Being deprived for even one night can make you irritated and increase your negative responses and negative feelings by 60%.
Disturbed sleep patterns affect your appetite and metabolism rate as well, thus negatively affecting your immune system. All essential body functions get a negative impact if you are not well rested. Even your cardiac rhythm gets compromised as your internal clock gets upside down. Our inner clock works on a 24- hour schedule that is controlled by the sleep-wake cycle controlling how you respond to stress. Not getting enough of it can disrupt your internal clock even if you sleep during the day. Nature has its ways and night is for resting which can not be replaced by sleeping during day hours.
Also Read: 7 Ways to Get Naturally Glowing Skin
It may be possible to determine how long you take to fall asleep by many factors, including how many times you wake up at night and how rested you feel during the other day. Also, how much sleep do you get in each cycle. Focus more on the quality of sleep.