Sleep is a necessity and a vital biological function to any healthy human beings daily cognitive and motor functions. It is imperative to your physical and emotional stability and your ability to do even the most menial of tasks. For those who indulge in getting enough sleep (and many of us don’t), sleep fights off and prevents depression, it allows you to maintain a healthy weight, recharge with an increased production in proteins ( hence the term ‘beauty sleep’), it is responsible for the release of growth hormones in both children and adults, sleep increases your resistance to illness as well as regulates your digestion, metabolism, breathing and heart beat.
Lack of sleep, in contrast, has some seriously nasty results including but not limited to; general drowsiness, impaired memory, poor physical performance, hallucinations and mood swings as well as ( horror of horrors) weight gain and wrinkles. Recently it has also been discovered that lack of sleep may even shorten your life span.
So, if you are wondering why your teenager is moody as an angry cat that accidentally fell in the bath tub, your toddler doesn’t want to learn how to use a potty or is constantly sick, or your 8 year olds grades are dropping, check their sleeping pattern. The answer may be as simple as putting the lights out a little earlier than usual.
Now I hear you asking, ‘ But how much sleep should I be getting?’ . Well according to various sleep foundations and experts there isn’t really a magic number, however the consensus points to the following guidelines:
- Newborns: 0-2 months : 12 to 18 hours
- Infants: 3 -11 months: 14 to 15 hours
- Toddlers: 1-3 years: 12 to 14 hours
- Preschoolers: 3-5 years : 11 to 13 hours
- School Age Children: 5 to 10 years: 10 to 11 hours
- Teens:10 to 17 years old: 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours
- Adults: 7 to 9 hours
On that note I had better be nodding off shortly myself. Watch this space for tips on creating a good sleeping pattern. Good night, sleep tight and don’t have that last cup of coffee before hitting the hay, your body will be grateful in the morning.