In our society, workaholics are esteemed and extra sleep is teamed with laziness. Now there’s proof that if you get less than 7 hours per night of sleep, you are three times more likely to catch a cold as your lazy counterparts. Sleep is tightly linked to strong immunity and it’s considered better for you than vitamin C for a cold!
Here’s an article that gives you the best excuse ever to sleep in:
So . . . how much sleep do you really need? According to the above article, at least 7 hours. Then there’s the study that was done at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif that will tell you that too much sleep is as bad as too little. They found that adults that slept between 6.5 and 7.5 hours per night lived the longest.
Teens Really Need Their Sleep – on their own schedule . . .
Kidshealth.org encourages teens to get at least 8-9 hours per night, finding that teens who get enough sleep do better on tests, perform better at athletics, and are more creative. Kidshealth also quotes that the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration estimates that more than 100,000 accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,500 people are killed in the U.S by drowsy drivers – so getting enough sleep can affect more than just our immunity.
According to The Sleep Foundation, teen’s circadian rhythms are geared to stay up later in the evening and to wake later in the morning. It hasn’t been established exactly why, but it seems that during adolescence their biological clock is temporarily ‘reset’ and the sleep hormone melatonin isn’t produced in the brain until later at night. So next time your teen complains they can’t sleep when they go to bed early, it’s really a biological fact they can’t control. Unfortunately, most schools start early, so most teens are sleep deprived.(recall the driving statistics, now…)
Homeschoolers, try a schedule that fits your teen’s biological clock, making sure they get at least 9 hours of sleep, and see how the mood and creativity improves. It could solve some of those problems you’ve been having. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to emotional troubles, such as feelings of sadness and depression as well as health.
The Sleep Foundation gives these guidelines for the recommended amount of sleep for your age:
- Infants 3-11 months:9-12 hours + 1-4 naps/day
- Toddlers 1-3 yrs: 12-14 hours
- Preschoolers 3-5: 11-13 hours
- Children 5-12: 10-11 hours
- Teens 11-17: 8.5-9.25
- Adults: 7-9
- Seniors: 7-9
If you have trouble sleeping at night, The Sleep Foundation offers 8 tips for achieving a good night’s sleep:
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use your bedroom only for sleep (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
- Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
Of course, different people have different needs, and my (now grown) son never seemed to sleep much as a baby. If he slept 8 hours at night, it was a miracle, and naps were rare and short. Now as an adult, he still doesn’t sleep much, and is a healthy adult – with more energy than I’ve ever had. So, let your body tell you if you are getting enough sleep, but don’t let it be the boss, either. Remember, too much sleep is as bad or worse than not enough sleep. Good luck figuring it all out!