The recommended amount of sleep an individual should get each night depends on a variety of factors. This includes age, gender, activity levels, and genetics. In this article, we are going to cover the recommended amount of sleep each age group should get courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), who states, “The recommendations are the result of multiple rounds of consensus voting after a comprehensive review of published scientific studies on sleep and health.”
Newborns take some time to adjust to a more normal routine. In the coziness of the womb, your baby spent most of the time sleeping and was surrounded by warmth and darkness. Once your baby is born they are likely to sleep for most of the day.
One of the primary reasons for this is because newborn babies do not have an established circadian rhythm—which put simply is just a part of the brain that sends signals to the rest of our body, which regulates several things, from our sleep cycle to body temperature. The circadian rhythm is not established until they are about 2 to 3 months old. From 3 to 12 months of age, infants will move during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and after this period, they will begin to sleep more like adults or at least adolescents.
Children, which we are counting as 3 to 12 years of age, still require more sleep compared to the rest of us due to their rapid growth and developing bodies. Recognizing when children are not sleeping enough, however, can be quite difficult. Unlike you and me or the majority of the adult population, children may speed up when they are tired instead of slowing down and engage in similar behaviors that resemble ADHD behavior. The recommended amount of sleep children should receive each night ranges from 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day.
Now, you may be thinking, "what happens if my child does not get enough sleep growing up?" The primary consequences of poor sleep among children and adolescents are behavior problems, impaired learning, mood and emotional instability, and a greater likelihood of becoming obese.
The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) states, that circadian rhythms begin to shift after puberty. This makes teens want to go to bed after 11 pm and wake up later in the day—which can easily conflict with the typical school schedule. Teens, like adults, are also up on blue light devices late at night which can cause problems falling and staying asleep. One of the recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation is to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day—even on the weekends.
As Dr. Yelena Pyatkevich who is the director of the neurology clerkship and associate director of sleep disorders at Boston Medical Center said, "The average adult is getting one and a half hours less of sleep per night than the average adult did 100 years ago." Some of the possible reasons include:
The recommended amount of sleep an adult should get each night is between 7 to 9 hours. Poor and lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, increased risk of cancer, cognitive impairment, increased risk of depression, weight gain, and more.
It is estimated that 40-70% of older adults have chronic sleep problems including insomnia and up to 50% of cases are undiagnosed. Insufficient sleep in older adults is linked to dementia, depression, daytime sleepiness, Alzheimer's, and more nighttime falls. The recommended amount of sleep older adults should get each night is between 7-8 hours.
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