As You Get Older, How Much Sleep Do You Need?
You’ve undoubtedly heard it a million times: you need to sleep enough. And although it may seem to be a meaningless platitude, it has a lot of truth. Getting adequate sleep is critical for our physical and mental health and well-being. For starters, sleep helps to restore your body and mind, providing you with the energy you need to get through the day. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your risk of heart disease (1) and other chronic health conditions.
It aids our bodies’ recovery from the activities of the day. Sleep is necessary for our brains to assimilate information (2). We are more prone to get ill, gain weight, and have issues with memory, focus, and decision-making if we do not get enough sleep. In summary, getting adequate sleep is critical because it allows us to be our best selves.
Babies and Toddlers
From the day we are born to the day we die, we all need varying amounts of sleep. It goes without saying that newborns need a lot of sleep in order to grow and develop correctly. But how much sleep is too much?
Many specialists believe that newborns and young infants should sleep between fourteen and seventeen hours each day. This is more common throughout the day and night when newborns only wake up to eat. Babies, on the other hand, do not listen to experts. One thing they seem to be capable of doing entirely on their own is sleeping….a lot. In fact, they sleep more than they wake.
However, why do newborns sleep so much? One explanation is that newborns grow quickly and need a lot of energy to maintain their development. Sleeping assists children in conserving energy and allowing their bodies to employ that energy for development.
Another reason is that newborns’ brains grow quickly, and they need a lot of time to comprehend all of the new information they are receiving (3). Sleeping permits their brains to recuperate and consolidates all of the new knowledge they have learned. Finally, newborns are still getting acclimated to being outside of the womb, and the outside world’s stimuli might be overwhelming. They need sleep to rest their neurological systems from all of the stimuli. So, if you’re wondering how much sleep your kid truly needs each day, the answer is straightforward: whatever works best for them!
One of the concerns that new parents have is when their child will sleep through the night. Because neonates need to be fed every few hours after they are born, circadian rhythms have no effect on their sleep cycle. When they are around three months old, this begins to happen (4).
Babies need less sleep as they develop than newborns. They are expected to sleep for 14 hours in a 24-hour period until they are a year old (5). The good news is that newborns of this age begin to sleep for most of the night as the circadian rhythm and body clock take effect. They will most likely take two or three naps throughout the day.
A good night’s sleep is essential for everyone, but particularly for young children. Toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day, including naps. That may seem to be a lot but bear in mind that kids are growing quickly, and their brains are developing swiftly. It takes a lot of energy to learn to crawl, walk, and explore the environment, so when toddlers don’t get enough sleep, they might become fussy and irritated.
These young ones are infamous for being finicky sleepers, and it may be difficult to keep them in bed all night. It is critical to establish and keep to a nighttime routine. This will assist your kid in knowing when it is time to sleep and will make it simpler for them to go asleep. Starting and keeping excellent sleeping patterns as a youngster may benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Second, make your child’s bedroom a tranquil and pleasant setting. Make sure the room is dark and silent, and remove any toys or anything that can keep your kid awake. Avoid feeding your kid sugary beverages or snacks just before bed. This might make it difficult for them to fall asleep and create restless nights due to indigestion. Finally, keep TVs and screens out of their beds, just like adults do (6). You can assist ensure that your child gets enough sleep by following these guidelines.
School children and Teenagers
As toddlers grow and begin school, they need fewer, if any, naps throughout the day (7). School-age children, on the other hand, need substantially less sleep, averaging approximately 9 hours each night. So, what’s the deal? Schoolchildren’s minds are highly developed, thus, they do not need as much down time. Growth is less consistent, and they have growth spurts (8), which usually occur when they are sleeping (9).
Teenagers are the experts when it comes to getting adequate sleep. It turns out that teens need a lot of sleep. Approximately 11 hours. Our bodies naturally desire to go to bed and get up early when we’re younger. However, when we become older and have to cope with schoolwork, part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities, socializing, and dating, sleep becomes a priority.
When it comes to the ideal amount of sleep for teens, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Teenagers, on the other hand, need more sleep than they did when they were ten years old. This is because they are going through puberty and experiencing a growth spurt that will propel them to their adult height (10). Their bodies are undergoing significant transformations. As the body grows and develops, sex and growth hormones are surging. Furthermore, their brains are growing and being stimulated by intense study (11). This may be taxing, so it’s no surprise they need so much rest!
Getting a good night’s sleep, as we all know, can be difficult. With jobs, family, and social responsibilities, it may be difficult to find time to unwind and sleep. And even if you do manage to fall asleep, you run the chance of being awakened by a wailing infant or a snoring spouse. So, how much sleep do people require? Most individuals, according to experts, need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day.
However, there is some wiggle room in this amount, and some individuals may work very well on 6 hours of sleep, but others may need 9 or 10 hours to feel refreshed. Finally, the quantity of sleep you need is governed by your body and lifestyle.
It is better to listen to your body and rest when necessary. Follow excellent sleep hygiene procedures (12), such as keeping your bedroom cold and dark, going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding using screens before bedtime, and keeping your mobile phone out of the bedroom, to optimize your sleep.
If you have a snoring companion, there are several anti-snoring medications and gadgets on the market that he or she may try (13). You may also wear earplugs, and many individuals now sleep in separate bedrooms. Although it may not seem like a recipe for a happy marriage, it may result in a far more harmonious connection with your husband. Most essential, get a good night’s sleep!
Older folks, like younger ones, need seven to eight hours of sleep (14) every night to feel rejuvenated and focused throughout the day. Unfortunately, older persons have difficulty sleeping because of pain and physical discomfort (15), drugs (16), stress, bereavement (17), the need to use the bathroom more often (18), and other age-related difficulties.
As a consequence, many older persons barely obtain six hours of sleep every night, which is often interrupted or disrupted. As a result, they often slumber much more throughout the day. Even little sleep deprivation may cause elevations in blood pressure, heart rate (19), and stress hormones (20). This is terrible enough when you’re young and active, but our resistance deteriorates with age, and our immunity is already impaired. Furthermore, sleep deprivation might impair mental performance (21) and increase the risk of falls and accidents (22). As a result, it is critical that older persons prioritize sleep and obtain enough rest.
Our sleeping habits and requirements alter as we age. Getting a good night’s sleep might become more challenging at times. Fortunately, we can take action to enhance our sleep hygiene and optimize our sleep patterns. To feel your best, whether you are a teenager, a young adult, or an older adult, it is critical to listen to your body like a baby and prioritize appropriate rest.
- Sleep plays an important role in heart health https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/sleep-disorders/sleep-and-heart-health
- Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep
- Review of sleep-EEG in preterm and term neonates https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342258/
- Newborn sleep patterns: A survival guide https://parentingscience.com/newborn-sleep/
- Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877308/
- Infant Sleep and Parent Health Literacy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975997/
- Spotlight on daytime napping during early childhood https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5851571/
- Growth Spurts: What you need to know (ages 5 to 8) https://www.babycenter.com/child/development/growth-spurts-what-you-need-to-know-ages-5-to-8_3658977
- Naps: Babies’ Growth Rate And Sleep Time Related https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/224093#1
- Relationship Between Timing of Peak Height Velocity and Pubertal Staging in Boys and Girls https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677560/
- Teenagers and Sleep: How Much Sleep Is Enough? https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/teenagers-and-sleep-how-much-sleep-is-enough
- Sleep Hygiene https://www.wwl.nhs.uk/media/.leaflets/61d8276e8d91a8.96413296.pdf
- TOP10Snoring Aids https://www.top10snoringaids.net/gb
- A Good Night’s Sleep https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/good-nights-sleep
- Better Health While Aging https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/top-5-causes-sleep-problems-in-aging-and-proven-insomnia-treatments/
- Insomnia in the Elderly: A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5991956/
- Spousal loss and health in late life: moving beyond emotional trauma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3608192/
- 092- Interview: Addressing Nighttime Urination & Insomnia in Aging https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/podcast/bhwa/night-time-urination-and-insomnia-in-aging/
- Short-term sleep deprivation affects heart function https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161202100943.htm
- Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/
- How Lack of Sleep Impacts Cognitive Performance and Focus https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation/lack-of-sleep-and-cognitive-impairment
- Sleep disturbances and falls in older people https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17301039/