Magnificent Seven – Sleep Right: How Much Is Enough?

How much sleep do you need to function at your best?  There is obviously no definite answer, but the general rule is between 7-9 hours nightly.  You should wake up refreshed and not needing an alarm clock.  Getting adequate sleep each night will help you manage stress, fight infection, and decrease disease risk.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep durations:

  • 14-15 hours per 24 hours for infants (3-11 months)
  • 12-14 hours per 24 hours for toddlers
  • 11-13 hours per 24 hours for preschoolers
  • 10-11 hours per 24 hours for school-aged children

With those recommendations they found that 69% of children in these age groups have sleep problems at least a few times each week and the majority of children consistently sleep less than the recommended amounts.  Did I mention that sleep deprivation leads to weight gain and diabetes?  Did I mention that we are facing a childhood epidemic of obesity?  I believe that this is just one part of the big picture when it comes to childhood obesity.

Signs of Sleep Disturbances

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Waking up tired
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Microsleeps or “nodding off”
  • Zoning out in conversation or task
  • Altered memory or judgment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Clumsy and/or slower reaction times
  • Feeling emotional for no apparent reason
  • Snoring (sleep apnea)
  • Routinely falling asleep within 5 minutes of lying down
  • Waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep

Many of the signs listed above might not be associated with sleep disturbances.  For example, you may be depressed, emotional and blue due to sleep deprivation not because you are lacking an antidepressant.  Consider auditing your sleep if you are suffering with any of the sleep disturbance signs listed above.

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