While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Minimum sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness and ability to handle stress. Over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. In fact, the number of hours you need to enjoy proper sleep depends and stay healthy depends on your age. By understanding your nightly sleep needs and how to bounce back from sleep loss, you can finally get on a healthy sleep schedule and improve the quality of your waking life. Follow some simple rules to restore energy and get the most out of your recharge time.
What happens when you experience a lack of sleep :
If you eat well and exercise regularly but don't get at least seven hours of sleep every night, you may undermine all your other efforts. Scientists have established the connection between age and the required number of hours a person needs to have a good night's sleep. An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it would not harm your health. If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Short-term problems can include :
- Lack of alertness
- Impaired memory
- Relationship stress
- Greater likelihood for car accidents
Chronic sleep deprivation can even affect your appearance. Over time, it can lead to premature wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes.
How much sleep do you actually need :
Everyone feels better after a good night's rest. But now, thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can aim for a targeted sleep number tailored to your age. Each person has individual needs, which may change these numbers. It breaks them into nine age-specific categories with a range for each, which allows for individual differences :
- Newborns, 0-3 months : 14-17 hours
- Infants, 4-11 months : 12-15 hours
- Toddlers, 1-2 years : 11-14 hours
- Preschool Children, 3-5 years : 10-13 hours
- School-age children, 6-13 years : 9-11 hours
- Teenagers, 14-17 years : 8-10 hours
- Young adults, 18-25 years : 7-9 hours
- Adults, 26-64 years : 7-9 hours
- Older Adults, 65+ years : 7-8 hours
People who are sick stressed or on the contrary, extremely active need more sleep to recharge. But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the right direction to improve your health.
How to get enough sleep and feel refreshed everyday :
Fall asleep and wake up at the same time everyday. A fixed schedule will regulate your body clock. Don't overeat, have tonic drinks before bed, avoid smoke and alcohol. Create a cozy and comfortable atmosphere in your bedroom. The temperature in the room shouldn't be higher than 75°F. A short walk in the fresh air before going to bed will help you fall asleep more quickly.
4 Myths about sleep :
- Getting just one hour less sleep per night won't affect your daytime functioning.
- Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.
- Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.
- You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.
Can I die from lack of sleep :
It's possible that given enough time, sleep deprivation can kill you. While no human being is known to have died from staying awake, animal research strongly suggests it could happen. In the 1980's a University of Chicago researcher named Allan Rechtschaffen conducted a series of groundbreaking experiments on rats. After 32 days of total sleep deprivation, all the rats were dead. Curiously, researchers still do not agree on the cause of death.