Sleep is a major factor in an individual’s physical health, because a lot goes on while you are snoozing - you just don’t realize it!
As an example, your heart and blood vessels heal and repair themselves while you are sleeping… it’s true. Also, dreaming is an essential exercise for our minds to process and consolidate stress, memories, and emotions. There are many theories that suggest that it improves learning of new skills.
And with all this good stuff that it does… why aren’t we getting enough? And just what is the right amount of sleep? Let’s lay it out for you.
While individual needs vary, sleep requirements typically are related to age - the younger, the more.
- A newborn (1-4 weeks): 15/16 hours a day (but they do it only in short periods of 2-4 hours each)
- 1-4 months: 14-15 hours a day. More regular sleeping patterns occur. And - thank goodness! - day/night confusion starts to end.
- 4 months to a year. Still 14-15 hours a day. Very important to establish good sleeping habits here! Most babies are physically able to sleep through the night at about 6 months. Try to get two naps a day - midmorning and early-mid afternoon.
- 1 to 3 years: 12-14 hours. They are likely to lose the morning nap, and they’ll go to just the once-a-day nap. Bed time needs to be 7 to 9p, wake up 6 to 8a.
- 3 to 6 years: 10-12 hours. Bed time is the same, but this is the age range where we see naps diminish.
- 7 to 12 years: 10-11 hours. Bed times range from 7:30 to 10p, and in reality, the average sleep that is actually achieved is only 9 hours. This can lead to a lot of sleepy homerooms in school!
- 12 to 18 years. 8-9 hours. Bodies are developing and doing a lot of work during this time, healthier children benefit from good sleep as their bodies are working overtime.
- Young Adults: 7-9 hours.
- 25 to 64: Remains 7-9 hours
- 65+: Sleep range of 7 to 8 hours.
How do we get there?
Here are some tips for you to get the sleep you need.
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Exercise daily.
- 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.
It’s bedtime! Get to sleep!