Science explains how much sleep you really need. Good timing. You’ve probably heard a lot about your biological clock. And how respecting your sleep cycle can have significant health benefits. People usually think that seven to eight hours of sleep is enough, but that’s not always the case.
Sleep is an integral part of our lives. If a person sleeps eight hours a day, they spend one-third of their life in this state if they live for 75 years. This equals 25 years or 9,125 days spent asleep. Wow. It’s clear that this process is vital for normal rest and recovery. This may surprise you, but the number of hours you need to enjoy proper sleep depends on your age, we’ll speak about this a bit later.
First, let’s discuss what happens when you experience a lack of sleep.
Lack Of Sleep
Many of us wait for the weekend to get a good night’s rest, but you shouldn’t neglect sleep on the weekdays. Set a time for when you’ll stop viewing the latest viral video online. This will greatly benefit your overall condition. First of all, being sleep-deprived negatively affects the quality of future bouts of sleep.
Secondly, a lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on your health. Not getting enough sleep weakens your immune system and can have serious consequences. A review based on 16 studies concluded that people who sleep less than six to eight hours a day have a 12% higher risk of premature death than those who sleep more than eight hours.
If you constantly feel sleepy, are easily irritated, feel exhausted during the day or off, and, you most likely suffer from sleep deprivation if you believe in magic methods like coffee or other stimulants to keep you awake. Don’t get your hopes up. Nothing will help you deal with this problem as your body’s need for rest will be stronger.
Not getting enough sleep also increases the risk of developing the following problems and diseases:
- Changes in hormone function;
- Cardiovascular diseases;
- Visual impairment;
Your emotional state can also be affected by a lack of sleep. You might be impatient or irritable or prone to sudden mood swings.
Your decision-making abilities may become compromised. In the worst cases of severe sleep deprivation, people even start having visual and auditory hallucinations. A lack of sleep for prolonged periods of time is likely to trigger manias in people suffering from manic depression. In addition, people who don’t sleep enough can experience periods of micro sleep during the day.
During this time, they fall asleep for a couple of seconds or minutes. Without realizing it, microsleep can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if a person is driving. What is more, People experiencing Microsleep tend to get injured when they fall or trip over something. On top of all this, bad sleep negatively affects your body and appearance as a result:
- Weight gain;
- Circles under the eyes;
- Pallor; and
- Poor complexion becomes a real problem.
A prolonged lack of sleep also leads to a lack of concentration, a decrease in everyday efficiency, and premature aging.
Age & Sleep
Age and sleep age affect more than your health and bodily functions. Scientists have established the connection between age and the required number of hours a person needs to have a good night’s sleep.
Newborns (0-3 Months Old)
Newborns zero to three months old need about 14 to 17 hours of sleep daily.
Infants (4-11 Months Old)
Infants who are four to 11 months old should sleep four, to 12 to 15 hours.
Toddler (1-2 Years Old)
If you’re the parent of a one or two-year-old toddler, make sure they sleep for no less than 11 to 14 hours every day.
Preschoolers (3-5 Years Old)
Preschoolers three to five years old should sleep for 10 to 13 hours daily.
Kids (6-13 Years Old)
Kids from six to 13 years old still need more sleep than adults. Nine to 11 hours.
Teenagers (14-17 Years Old)
14 to 17-year-old teenagers should sleep for eight to 10 hours.
Young Adults (18-25 Years Old)
Young adults of 18 to 25 years old need less sleep, just seven to nine hours every day.
Adults (26-64 Years Old)
The same can be said about adults between 26 and 64 years of age, seven to nine hours are enough for them to rest.
Elderly (more than 65 Years Old)
Elderly people older than 65 sleep even less, seven to eight hours a day.
So you can see that the older a person is the smaller the amount of sleep recovery they need. Babies up to three months old require the largest amount of sleep. Children and teenagers under 18 years old should sleep more than eight hours a night to stay healthy. After that, the required amount of sleep reduces significantly and changes only after a person reaches 65 years of age. However, don’t forget that each person has individual needs, which may change these numbers.
People who are sick, stressed, or on the contrary, extremely active, need more sleep to recharge. They may even feel the need to have short naps during the day.