Sleep is a vital part of living a healthy life – this is as clear as it possibly can be for all of us. But the question that still haunts us is how much of it do we actually need? We’re all familiar with the universal rule that everyone should get an 8-hour sleep, but this can’t apply to both children and adults.
Let’s first take a look at how much sleep do you need by age, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
0 to 3 Months – 14 to 17 Hours
4 to 12 Months – 12 to 16 Hours per 24 Hours
1 to 2 Years – 11 to 14 Hours per 24 Hours
3 to 5 Years – 10 to 13 Hours per 24 Hours
6 to 12 Years – 9 to 11 Hours per 24 Hours
13 to 18 Years – 8 to 10 Hours per 24 Hours
So Why We Sleep
Scientists have worked on finding the answer to this question for many years. However, they still don’t have a satisfying answer. The only thing we know for sure is that sleep is essential to our survival. There are a couple of theories as to why we need sleep:
The Restorative Theory: Sleep helps us to “restore” what we have lost while we were awake. Sleep gives an opportunity for our bodies to repair themselves.
The Brain Plasticity Theory: Sleep essentially helps our brains to reorganize themselves. That is why when we are sleep deprived, we are unable to learn and perform tasks.
Sleep Deprivation Side Effects
The persistent sleep loss has a massive negative effect on our health and well-being.
According to the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, persistent sleeplessness can speed up cognitive aging and put people at risk for conditions such as dementia.
Increased Depression and Anxiety
The Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine explains that the problem of sleep disturbance has affected nearly a quarter of the world’s population. People who suffer from sleep problems are more likely to face mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, and especially depression.
Compromised Immune System
Sleep impacts heavily your immune system. Getting enough quality sleep and staying healthy go together. Without the recommended amount of rest, our bodies cannot fight off infections, inflammation, or stress.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep
Getting an appropriate amount of sleep based on your age helps to give your body the strength to go through every day and maintain good memory quality, mental health status and ability to fight off illnesses. In order to get the sleep your body desperately needs, here are a few tips:
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