Getting a good night’s sleep is a must; otherwise you run the risk of falling asleep while performing tasks and feeling dizzy and tired all the time. The amount of sleep you need is determined by a wide range of factors, and age is among the most important ones. Read on to find out what the standard range of sleep hours for your or your child’s age is.
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If you do not sleep as much as you should, you are more likely to suffer from such conditions, diseases and disorders as heart disease and diabetes; those with poor sleep are also reported to be at a higher risk of obesity. Poor sleep quality is another factor that contributes to health deterioration. Having disrupted circadian rhythms has even been linked to higher odds of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
There are no fixed rules, and as everyone is different, the amount of sleep you need is shaped by many other factors and peculiarities of your body. There are recommendations, which, if followed, can help you reduce the risk of health problems, but you must always keep in mind that the hour ranges provided in this article are flexible and can be adjusted according to your needs and health state. If you are in doubt whether you can afford to sleep less – we all have those can’t-help-working periods – consult a doctor prior to cutting on sleep hours.
Here are the recommendations issued by the National Sleep Foundation.
Newborns (0-3 months)
One of the most vulnerable ages, the first three months of life require a lot of sleep, because newborns’ brain and organs are not fully developed yet and need a lot of nutrients and energy resources to form all the necessary systems. Newborns should sleep as much as 14-17 hours a day in order to ensure proper development.
Infants (4-11 months)
Many changes that the body undergoes in this period are just as important as those characteristic of the first stage. While the amount of sleep is slightly reduced, it still takes a significant share of the day, making up 12-15 hours a day.
Toddlers (1-2 years)
The optimal sleep duration for the age is 11-14 hours a day. The child is becoming more and more active, and to replenish energy and boost development processes, the body still needs more sleep than adults.
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
Like all other periods of child development, this one is characterized by increased amounts of sleep, compared to those of adults. However, as the child is growing, this gap is being gradually reduced. The recommended duration of sleep for preschoolers is 10-13 hours a day. At this stage, you can still practice daytime sleep, which can be beneficial but is not tolerated well by some children, as dizziness can occur.
School children (6-13 years)
At this age, it can be quite a challenge to make your child sleep at noon, so the total sleep time is not distributed throughout the day any more. The recommended sleep amount for school children is 9-11 hours. Make sure your children get enough sleep: most school children run the risk of experiencing lack of sleep, and there are at least two reasons for it. The first one is a lot of things to learn at school, which takes a lot of effort and energy, and the second one is exposure to a variety of devices, which are present in school environment in abundance. Social networks, online games, and other digital activities that most modern children are engaged in are not beneficial for sleep and often take their toll.
Teenagers (14-17 years)
Just as the previous group, teenagers are prone to insomnia and other sleep disorders due to never-ending exams and constant use of electronic devices. Besides, teenagers are a vulnerable group, as parties and other nightlife activities, which are often started during this period, can also disrupt sleep cycles. The recommended amount of sleep is 8-10 hours.
Adults (18-64 years)
Like any other group, adults need enough sleep. According to the recommendations, adults should sleep for 7-9 hours.
Older adults (65+ years)
Seniors usually sleep less, and it correlates with the recommended sleep of 7-8 hours a day.
Getting enough sleep can help you prevent fatigue and tiredness, as well as reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases. The brain needs periods of sleep to manage body processes, so don’t deprive it of such an opportunity!
Circadian Rest-Activity Pattern Changes in Aging and Preclinical Alzheimer Disease – Jamanetwork.com
National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary – Sciencedirect.com