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The Importance of Sleep and How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Woman falling asleep at desk because of sleep deprivation

The Importance of Sleep & Recommendations by Age

What does sleep do for us that makes it so crucial to our overall health and wellbeing? There are many scientific studies that have been conducted on the subject of sleep. These studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between not getting enough sleep and the damages it does to your body and overall health. The same references show that getting enough sleep could be very beneficial.

Negative Impacts from Lack of Sleep:

  • Increased stress levels - Not getting enough sleep has been seen to increase stress levels and impair academic performance. Sleep gives your body a chance to repair itself from the wear and tear of daily life and reduce stress levels. 
  • Decreased brain function - Sleep helps your brain consolidate memories, process information, and make decisions more effectively. Multiple studies have shown various mechanisms of how sleep deprivation can reduce brain functioning including memory, cognition, and decision making. 
  • Increased risk of injury - A 2019 systematic review concluded that chronic (long-term) sleep deprivation increased the risk on adolescent sports injuries in 907 subjects.

How Much Sleep Do You Need

The amount of sleep you need varies depending on your age group. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amounts of sleep per age group:

  • Infants 4-12 months old need 12-16 hours 
  • Toddlers 1-2 years old need 11-14 hours 
  • Preschoolers 3-5 years old need 10-13 hours 
  • School-aged children 6-13 years old need 9-11 hours 
  • Teens 14-17 years old need 8-10 hours                    
  • Adults 18 years and older need 7-9 hours  

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and wellbeing. There are many benefits to getting enough sleep, including reduced stress levels, improved brain function, lower risk of injury, and better physical health.

Sources:

1. Alotaibi AD, Alosaimi FM, Alajlan AA, Bin Abdulrahman KA. The relationship between sleep quality, stress, and academic performance among medical students. J Family Community Med. 2020;27(1):23-28. doi:10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_132_19

2. Eugene AR, Masiak J. The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep. MEDtube Sci. 2015;3(1):35-40.

3. Gao B, Dwivedi S, Milewski MD, Cruz AI Jr.. CHRONIC LACK OF SLEEP IS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED SPORTS INJURY IN ADOLESCENTS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS. Orthop J Sports Med. 2019;7(3 Suppl):2325967119S00132. Published 2019 Mar 29. doi:10.1177/2325967119S00132

4. Nagai M, Hoshide S, Kario K. Sleep duration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease- a review of the recent literature. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2010;6(1):54-61. doi:10.2174/157340310790231635

5. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012;463(1):121-137. doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0

6. McKeown, G. 12 ways to relieve anxiety naturally–part 2.

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