According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 percent of American adults don’t get enough sleep. That’s a big issue since inadequate sleep can increase the chances of obesity, heart disease, and a number of other serious conditions.
You certainly shouldn’t feel tired all of the time, and if fatigue is part of your daily routine, you may need to change your habits. First, however, you need to know whether you’re sleeping enough.
Getting the right amount of sleep can solve a lot of your problems.
You can sleep too much, and you can definitely not sleep enough. Luckily the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is on top of all the research regarding how many hours a person needs each night, and it’s all based on your age. The foundation recently updated these amounts and even added more specific breakdowns in ages.
The NSF has nine different age categories, and each one has different sleep needs.
Children, predictably, need more sleep than adults. From 0-3 months, babies need 14-17 hours a day, and from 4-11 months, the ideal number reduces to 12-15 hours. Toddlers from age 1-2 years should get 11-14 hours every night, while preschoolers aged 3-5 years need 10-13 hours. Children from 6-13 years need 9-11 hours, and teens need 8-10 hours.
As our bodies stop growing, our sleep range shrinks.
Adults from 18-64 should be getting 7-9 hours. Adults older than 65 can get by on 7-8 hours per night.
The NSF published its recommendations in Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.
“This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health,
“The National Sleep Foundation is providing these scientifically grounded guidelines on the amount of sleep we need each night to improve the sleep health of the millions of individuals and parents who rely on us for this information.”
What could go wrong if you don’t get enough sleep?
Your body uses sleep to repair itself, balance out chemicals, and build new connections in your brain. Poor sleep habits can have a negative effect on your mental, emotional, and physical state; chronic insomnia can even lead to mood changes and depression.
Your body sends out the stress hormone cortisol and other chemical cues only when you’re sleeping, so if you’re not getting the recommended amount of hours each night, you can really mess up a lot of systems. Your immune system is weakened, you’re at higher risk for heart disease, it can cause weight gain, and also make it more difficult for you to concentrate and learn new things.
Fortunately, if you don’t have a sleep disorder, you can easily fix the problem. Set up a sleeping schedule, and stick to it no matter what. Stay away from stimulants before bedtime, stop using any screens (phones, laptops, tablets) at least one hour before going to bed.