Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The experts at the National Sleep Foundation have conducted an in depth study to create a definitive chart that specifies exactly how much sleep we really need during every stage of our life. It has been reported that we spend on average one third of our lives snoozing. In addition, it has been found that the amount of slumber each person gets per night is a direct indicator of health. However, with the trials and tribulations of modern life including family disputes, work worries and sidetracking smartphones many of us don’t get enough shut eye.
But how can lack of sleep affect health?
1. Weight Gain and Obesity
Studies have found that sleep deprivation and, therefore, low energy levels increase the likelihood of opting for comfort foods containing high sugar levels to boost energy levels. The initial result of snacking on sugary foods is that you will initially be able to fight off sleepiness. However, if you continue to snack on unhealthy foods for energy you will set the path towards weight gain, obesity and further sleep loss.
2. Heart Disease and Diabetes
From all of the beneficial reasons to get a good night’s sleep, looking after your heart might not be at the top of your list. However, studies have shown that there is a link between lack of sleep and an increased risk of heart disease, as long lasting sleep deprivation can increase heart rate and blood pressure.
3. Shortening Life Span
Everyone has experienced the side effects of sleep deprivation. The long nights of restlessness turn into mood swings, headaches and a lack of focus the following day. However, in the long term, a lack of shut eye can decrease life expectancies dramatically.
Therefore, to determine exactly how much sleep we need, a trained team of sleep, anatomy, physiology and neurology expert scientists at the National Sleep Foundation have worked for two years to produce a precise sleep guide:
Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14 to 17 hours a day - previously 12 to 18
Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12 to 15 hours - previously 14 to 15
Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11 to 14 hours - previously 12 to 14
Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10 to 13 hours - previously 11 to 13
School-age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9 to 11 hours - previously 10 to 11
Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8 to 10 hours - previously 8.5 to 9.5
Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7 to 9 hours - new age category
Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7 to 9 hours
Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7 to 8 hours - new age category
If you struggle to sleep throughout the night there are simple steps that you can take to improve your sleeping habits. These simple sleep tips include, practising a regular and relaxing bedtime routine, exercising daily, eating smaller portions at night time and turning off all technology before going to sleep.
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