Since childhood, everyone knows the axiom that good sleep is the key to health. And indeed it is. After all, systematic lack of sleep threatens not only chronic fatigue, increased irritability and apathy for everything, but also a weakening of the immune system and an increased risk of developing various diseases. The norm of sleep has always been considered an occasion for heated scientific discussions and the subject of detailed study. And almost always, researchers came to the conclusion that the norm of sleep for an adult healthy person is an average of 8 hours. But this is only an average indicator, which can vary both up and down, depending on the physiological characteristics of the body of each person. MedAboutMe will tell you what sleep indicators are considered normal for different age categories and whether it is possible to identify any disorders in the body by the ratio of the duration of sleep and wakefulness of a person.
What is the sleep rate for children?
Healthy sleep for children is the key to normal growth, physical and mental development. The recommended duration of sleep and the features of the formation of its regimen are determined depending on the age of the child:
- 0–3 months. The need for sleep is greatest at this age. It is at first 17–18 hours, then gradually by three months it decreases to 15. The estimated duration of sleep in newborn babies is a total sum, since children at this age, as a rule, do not sleep for more than 3–4 hours in a row.
- 3–6 months. The norm of sleep for such babies is 15 hours. At the same time, approximately 10 hours of sleep are allocated at night, and 5 hours are divided into two daytime sleeps. If the child has not yet learned to sleep through the night, the number of hours of night wakefulness must be compensated during the day.
- 6–9 months. The need for sleep in children of this age is reduced by only an hour, and the duration of uninterrupted night rest is approximately 7 hours.
- 9–12 months. The average duration of sleep in such babies is 10–12 hours at night, and 3–4 hours during the day, divided into two rests. For strict adherence to the recommended norm, it is necessary to properly organize the baby’s sleep schedule, observing it, both day and night.
- 12–18 months. As before, the duration of a night’s sleep in a child should be 10–12 hours. The need for two naps at this age also remains. But already closer to a year and a half, you can gradually prepare the child for the transition to a regimen with one daytime sleep. To do this, you can start alternating days with one daytime sleep and two.
- 18–24 months. The need for sleep in children at this age is 12–14 hours (10–12 hours at night and about 2 hours during the day). But the need to sleep 1 or 2 times depends on the individual characteristics of the child, so it is important to observe your baby and adjust the regimen to his preferences.
For schoolchildren, sleep norms differ depending on age. So, Rospotrebnadzor recommends:
- children in grades 1–4 sleep an average of 10–10.5 hours;
- 5–7‑graders take 9.5–10 hours for a night’s rest;
- children in grades 6–9 sleep 9–9.5 hours;
- and students in grades 10–11 should devote 8–9 hours to sleep.
The meaning of sleep for a teenager
For teenagers, a healthy sleep of approximately 10 hours plays the most important role. This is due to the active physical development observed in adolescence in children. The main cause of lack of sleep in adolescents can be not only a deviation from the recommended sleep duration, but also the wrong daily routine. So, in adolescence, children often fall asleep late. Studying at school or university becomes the reason for early awakening. Failure to comply with the regimen of daytime activity and nighttime rest can lead to sleep deprivation, in which a person ceases to feel satisfaction from him, waking up in the morning in a depressed and tired state. In addition, this leads to increased irritability, which does not bode well for the physical and mental health of a teenager.
How much sleep do adults need?
The norm of sleep in adults refers to the duration of a night’s rest, after which a person feels completely rested and alert. For each such indicator is individual, and can vary from 5–6 to 10–12 hours. On average, the norm of sleep for an adult is 8 hours. Lack of proper sleep causes irreparable harm to health.
Involuntary deviations from the norm may indicate the presence of any health problems. So, there is the concept of a pathological increase or decrease in the duration of sleep (hyper- and insomnia). Hypersomnia is accompanied by increased irritability, depression, muscle pain and causeless anxiety that occurs even after a long night’s rest. Insomnia is more common. In this case, sleep disturbances can be observed when falling asleep, waking up, or during the night. Insomnia can be a sign of both mental and physical illness. The former include neurosis, alcoholism and drug addiction, depression, while the latter include disturbances in the endocrine system, chronic diseases of the liver, kidneys, dermatological diseases, osteochondrosis, etc. If a person notes that even with a normal sleep schedule, he does not feel rested, or he has problems with insomnia, it is necessary to consult a doctor and undergo an appropriate examination.
Sleep and health: interesting facts
- According to research, the norm of sleep for a teenager should be at least 9 hours. Lack of sleep for people of this age category can cause significant harm to health, both physical and mental. Good sleep for a teenager is very important. In its absence, the risk of early obesity, depression and the development of various serious diseases is significantly increased.
- Researchers from the Virgin Pulse Institute have found that almost one in six office workers at least once a week, due to a lack of nightly sleep, falls asleep right at the workplace. Moreover, the reasons for the lack of a normal night’s sleep for all respondents were different, but they boiled down to inconvenience caused by some external factors. The authors of the study note that lack of sleep causes a state similar to intoxication. This prevents a person from fully working and making the right decisions.
- A study conducted by scientists from the University of California showed that systematic violation of the norm of sleep increases the levels of inflammatory markers in the human body. That is, the lack of 7–8 hours of sleep leads to an increase in the level of interleukin‑6 and C‑reactive protein. The latter can also significantly increase the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
- Scientists from the Max Planck Institute conducted an experiment in which 160 adult volunteers took part. Specialists studied the features of changes in the sigma rhythm (sleep spindles) that appear during sleep. In addition, during the experiment, the IQ indicators of male and female participants were determined. Scientists have concluded that in women in the deep sleep phase, mental abilities improve. In men, an increase in IQ occurs during superficial sleep (drowsiness).
- Researchers at the University of Washington found that the hours a person sleeps are just as important to health as the length of sleep itself. The researchers conducted an experiment on laboratory rodents. According to its results, scientists have found that with the same duration of sleep at different hours, the benefits for the body will differ. That is, not observing the sleep regimen threatens a person with impaired immune response of the body, which significantly increases the risk of developing various diseases.
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