Sleep

The Land of Nod

Blessed sleep is the balm that soothes and restores us after a long day of work and play. Sleep is largely driven by the body’s internal clock that takes cues from external elements such as sunlight and temperature; it is the body’s natural sleep-and-wake cycle over a 24-hour period. For many people, sleep is elusive or otherwise troubled. In fact, most people, at some point in their lives, experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The consequences of poor sleep include myriad health conditions—obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, are just a few. Sleep deprivation also, of course, affects judgement and mental acuity, among other cognitive tasks. However, every person is different. One person may be able to function on less sleep, while another person may need a full eight hours. The good news is that treatment of sleep disorders is rapidly progressing, with new advances developing every month.

The Right Amount of Shut-Eye

The National Sleep Foundation has come up with recommendations for the amount of sleep needed for different age brackets. Of course, the hours vary when key points are taken into account, such as some people can’t function on less shut-eye and others can, being overweight, the use of caffeine, among other factors. The Foundation gives these daily sleep guidelines:

  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours 
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18-25): 7-9 hours 
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours 
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Insomnia, Dreaming

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