We all know sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. Sleeping patterns vary across ages and are primarily impacted by lifestyle and health. It is important to realize that our body needs proper rest to preserve our health and promote the development of the body. Thus a person must take specific hours of sleep for adequate rest of the body. Getting good quality sleep has many benefits, including protecting the physical and mental health, quality of life and personal safety. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in the United States has revised the amount of sleep everyone needs.
Lack of sleep is a significant threat to everyone
An occasional night without sleep makes a person feel tired and irritable the next day, but after several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more dangerous. Our brain will end up stop working, and it becomes difficult to concentrate and make decisions. Lack of sleep can affect our overall health and make us prone to severe medical conditions, such as obesity, health diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes. Studies have suggested that a person must sleep for at least five hours a night.
The recommended sleeping hours
The primary factor that influences the amount of sleep a person or a child requires is the age. Numerous studies were held between 2004 and 2014 just to obtain the desired number of sleeping hours. A research was conducted to establish the exact amount of sleep that is recommended. It was done by Charles Czeisler, a professor at Harvard University.
The recommended hours of sleep for different age groups are as follows :
1. Newborn (0 – 3 months): Newborns typically sleep for about 14 to 17 hours a day. Premature babies may sleep longer as their sleeping patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles. Most newborns from about 0 to 3 months of age need a nap in a day which may range from four to six hours.
2. Babies (4 – 11 months): Establishing a healthy sleeping habit is a primary goal for all babies. The most extended period of sleep for them may run from 12 to 15 hours.
3. Children (1 – 2 years): At this age, children are likely to lose their morning and early evening nap and nap which may range from one to three and a half hours long. They are required to sleep for a minimum of 11 to 14 hours to stay healthy.
4. Preschool (3 – 5 years): Most children are still napping at the age of years, but these naps gradually become shorter at the age of 5. Children at these ages typically require 12 to 13 hours of sleep.
5. School age (6 – 13 years): At these ages with social, school, and family activities, bedtime gradually become later and later, there is still a wide range of sleep pattern from 9 to 11 hours a day.
6. Teens (14 to 17 years): It was observed that sleep needs remain just as vital to health and well-being for teenagers as when they were younger. Teenagers need more sleep than their previous years, but they end up having a sleeping pattern of about 8 to 10 hours a day.
7. Youth (18 to 25 years): Youth should sleep for 7 to 9 hours per 24 hours on a particular basis to promote optimum health.
8. Adults (26 – 64 years): They do not have exact hours of sleeping because of increased work stress. Their body requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep per 24 hours to avoid health problems.
9. Seniors ( over 65 years): Seniors need as much sleep as they always have to function at their best. The average amount of required rest is about 7 to 8 hours.
Various factors responsible for sleep problem
Stress: Stress causes insomnia which makes it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which can disturb the balance between sleep and wakefulness. Increased level of cortisol is also responsible for restless sleep.
Technology: The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin. It is the hormone that controls sleep cycle. Reduced amount of sleep makes it hard to fall and stay asleep. The release of melatonin is more in the dark, but in the presence of the light of televisions, laptop, and cell phones, it can be reduced.
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