Just like food and water, a good night’s sleep is imperative to your health. Too little sleep causes your immune system to weaken and concentration to fade, while making it more likely for you to be irritable and even depressed. On the other hand, too much sleep is linked to depression and a host of physical ailments. So how much sleep, at what stage of life, is enough?
Make Sleep a Priority
Throughout life, sleep should be viewed as a necessity rather than luxury. Set your sleep quarters up accordingly, with sufficient curtains, and a lack of clutter. Even children require a mattress to support their tiny bodies, so make sure to find the right mattress for each member of your family. You can find more helpful information about selecting a mattress at www.Sleepys.com.au.
Any parent will tell you about the importance of having their children get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the number of hours required for children varies across the age groups. Newborns require between 14 and 17 hours sleep over a 24-hour period, but it’s anyone’s guess when that happens throughout the day. For infants aged 4-11 months the range is 12-15 hours, while toddlers need between 12 and 15 hours, and preschoolers aged 3-5 years need between 10 and 13 hours.
As school, extra activities and a burgeoning social life all place new demands on the time of children aged 6-13, a good night’s sleep is critical to their physical, cognitive and emotional development. This age group requires 9-11 hours sleep each night, so a calming bedtime routine should be implemented by the parent.
The average teen requires between 8 and 10 hours sleep each night, but the reality is most do not get enough, and the sleep they do get may be irregular. At weekends teens tend to stay up later and sleep in, only to then reset that routine for five days of school. To assist teens in getting enough sleep, encourage them to do their homework early in the night, stay off electronic devices and avoid screen time just before bed, and also establish a relaxed bedtime routine that factors in at least 8½ hours sleep every night.
During the ages of 18-65, adults should be sleeping between 7 and 9 hours every night to function at their best and keep their body running at its optimum. Lifestyle and factors like stress, illness, or diet may impact this figure, but keep in mind that sleep is just as important for adults as it is for children.
As an adult ages their need for sleep decreases, with people over 65 requiring only 7-8 hours sleep each night. Ageing also impacts the way people sleep, with the elderly more likely to wake frequently during the night and earlier in the morning. Maintaining good sleep habits including routine and relaxation, while excluding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime can assist a good rest.
Although your sleep needs may change throughout life, with the right habits, routine and environment, a good night’s snooze should be attainable at any age.