Most of us spend a fair amount of time thinking about whether we are eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables a day, and getting enough exercise, but do you ever think about whether you are getting the right amount of sleep, too?
If you are not, then it isn’t surprising. One of the areas that people let slip is the amount of sleep that they are getting, without realizing how important it is.
With the right amount of sleep, a person wouldn’t need so much coffee to keep them awake.
In fact, it isn’t just about caffeine intake either, sleep plays a primary role supporting a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Once you experience it, you realize how important sleep is to helping with memory, feeling alert, mood, and general health.
However, how much sleep you need depends on your age. You need more when you are younger, and as you age you need a little less – though sleep is still HUGELY important, no matter what age you are.
If you lack sleep, then this could cause a whole host of problems. From high fatigue and irritability to obesity and diabetes – there are just a few reasons to ensure you get enough sleep each night.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how much sleep you should be getting and why it is important.
How Much Sleep Should You Get Per Age Group?
Here is exactly how much sleep you need per age group if you are a healthy person:
- Newborn who is 0-3 months needs 14-17 hours of sleep
- Infant is 4-11 months needs 12-15 hours of sleep
- Toddler who is 1-2 years old needs 11-14 hours of sleep
- Preschool who is 3-5 years old needs 10-13 hours of sleep
- School-age who is 6-13 years old needs 9-11 hours of sleep
- Teen who is 14-17 years old needs 8-10 hours of sleep
- Young Adult who is 18-25 years old needs 7-9 hours of sleep
- Adult who is 26-64 years old needs 7-9 hours of sleep
- Older Adult who is 65+ years plus needs 7-8 hours of sleep
How Were The Sleep Recommendations Made?
Through decades of research by top physicians and scientists in the field, the recommended amount of sleep for each age group has been determined and is available to anyone online.
They spent a long time looking through studies that focused on the amount of sleep and outcomes, which showed what duration people slept and any illnesses that occurred from the likes of depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and general pain.
Once they had looked at all the evidence that had been collected, the panel then spent time discussing and voting as to what amount of sleep is needed depending on age. To put it into perspective, it took them 9 whole months to complete the study.
What Can Change The Ideal Amount Of Sleep That You Need?
The above chart shows a generalized guideline of how much sleep you need per age group, but there are things that can change it for each person. This is a reason why the recommended sleep shows a different amount per age group.
Individuals can vary when it comes to the sleep that they need due to their own health and lifestyle. Even if you are the same age as your friend, one of you may be more active than the other, making your needs for sleep different from one another.
To really understand how much sleep you actually need, it is important to think about your own lifestyle and habits. Here are a few things to think about:
- Are you currently suffering with some health issues, and are any lifelong or long term? Also, are you at risk of suffering from any diseases?
- Are 7 or 8 hours of sleep enough to help you become energized and ready for the day, or do you require more to have that same feeling?
- Are you in a job that requires a lot of labor, or do you play a lot of sport and partake in activities?
- Is caffeine something that you depend on to wake you up and get you through the day? Without it do you feel like you cannot function properly?
- Does your day job require a lot of concentration? For example, are you driving or handling machinery?
- Are you currently experiencing sleep problems, or do you have a history of struggling to sleep?
- When you have a free day, do you tend to spend it sleeping longer? Is this the same when you have a free weekend, too?
- Are you currently pregnant and is it affecting your sleep, either you are sleeping more (and in the day) or struggling to sleep?
How Are You Able To Improve Your Sleep?
If you have figured out the amount of sleep you should be getting for your age, then you may want to look at ways you can improve it. However, if you do have an underlying problem, you will need to tackle it first.
If you don’t, you will be fighting a losing battle and will likely not be able to reach the amount of sleep you are after.
Before you can get the sleep hours in, you will have to figure out whether you can remove some things out of your social calendar.
If you are feeling very tired recently, you may want to give evening and night social events a miss for a few weeks to experiment with how much sleep you need to function properly.
If you find that you are choosing to go out, rather than getting enough sleep, you will find that you will feel sluggish and tired the next day, and it could have long term consequences to your health too.
One of the ways to sleep better is to start by changing your sleep hygiene. This is by making your daily routine and night schedule work alongside your sleep. Here are some ideas:
- Make sure your sleeping schedule is the same every day, including the weekend.
- Have a going to bed routine that winds you down before sleep. Your body will understand that it is time to go to sleep soon.
- Make sure you remove yourself from blue lit electronics before bed. Whilst it can keep you awake, it is always worth removing anything that will stimulate the mind.
- Keeping a sleep log can help you to note any issues that you are having which you can work on. This may ease any anxieties, and you can write in it when you cannot sleep.
- If you struggle to sleep, instead of staying in bed and becoming restless, spend a while reading or doing something else that isn’t stimulating for the brain.
- Lastly, make sure not to drink either alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime.
Whether you are a teenager or an older adult, you will want to get the right amount of sleep so you can function properly during the day. Finding a routine that works for you will help to benefit your sleep.
Also, limiting drinks that contain caffeine can do wonders to help you sleep better. Hopefully this article has helped you to think about your own sleeping habits, and how you can get a much better sleep by changing your routine.
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