Sleep is an activity vital to every human being for proper functioning and health. Sleep allows our bodies to regain strength, heal, and allows the body go through various processes that we may not know about , like alleviating stress, weight loss, healthy skin, and memory. Here are a couple of interesting facts about the sleep we need in the different stages of our lives:
Related article: Sleep Characteristics
1. As babies/newborns ages 0-11months
Babies require 14-17 hours sleep each day. Newborn sleep patterns are often infrequent as they just depend on being fed then getting rest throughout the day and night. After a few months, their sleeping will become more structured where they will have longer periods of sleep.
2. As toddlers Ages 1-3
Toddlers require 11-14 hours each day. Toddlers will get in a good night’s rest with the addition of one or two nap times in the day. As they get older, the napping times will get shorter and the need will be less required.
3. As children ages 5-13
Children require 10-13 hours each day. At these ages, children will no longer need an afternoon nap and will have one sleeping session at night. Children need regular and long hours of sleep as it helps with early child development.
4. As teens Ages 14-18
Teens require 8- 10 hours a day. Teenagers will tend to nap because they don’t get enough sleep at night. As a person’s body changes from childhood to being a teen, the circadian pacemaker, which is our internal 24-hour clock, will determine our sleep patterns and alertness when awake. In teenagers, this clock will delay sleep time due to the various changes they experience in their bodies and daily activities.
5. Adults Ages 19-64
Adults require 7- 9 hours each day. Parents to newborns will typically have lost 400-750 hours of sleep in the first year. A lack of sleep can lead to overeating, as the body is unable to produce enough leptin, which assists in regulating appetite. Not having enough sleep can have many bad health effects on your body. Being awake for 16 or more hours has the same effect on our daily performance as having a blood alcohol level of .05%.
6. Older adults Ages 65+
Older adults require 6-7 hours each day. Insomnia is common in older adults due to other health problems such as arthritis and heart conditions. Older adults also suffer from restless leg syndrome where they will experience frequent leg kicking and uncontrolled leg movement when trying to fall asleep.
While you may feel and sometimes look good on a few hours of sleep, you need to make sure that you are doing your body good by giving it an opportunity to rest. Even if you do not get enough sleep at night, try make time for an afternoon nap. Getting a good night’s rest should be a priority for your overall well-being.
Written by Busi Nhlapo