A healthy and nutritious diet is central to our health, and so is the quality and quantity of sleep we get on a regular basis. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), adults should get between 7-8 hours per day, teens should aim for 8-10 hours, and children between 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours. Naps can provide short-term benefits, but fall far short of compensating for an overall lack of sleep.
According to the NIH, proper amounts of sleep provide tangible benefits in 3 important areas –
Mental & Emotional – A good night’s sleep improves learning of all types, because your brain is resting during sleep and recharging for its next day of activity. Regardless of whether its school work, driving a car or mastering a challenge at work, you think better, are more alert, have more creativity and experience improved problem-solving skills when you’re well-rested. Particularly with children and teens, plenty of rest also leads to better behavior, and fewer mood swings.
Physical Health – As with your brain, your body benefits greatly from plenty of rest. Your immune system is stronger, hormones are better able to control blood sugar levels and hunger, and in the case of youngsters, more sleep encourages healthy physical growth. Sleep deficiency can also make a person more prone to obesity.
Overall Productivity – People with sleep deficiency are often just generally slower and less productive during the day. Have you ever caught yourself dozing off for a split second while driving or listening to a presentation? This is condition called microsleep, and is a clear indication that more sleep is needed on a regular basis. People who suffer from bouts of microsleep when driving often exhibit the same quality of driving as individuals who are legally drunk. Government estimates are that roughly 100,000 car accidents occur each year, due to driver drowsiness. It’s just one of several reasons to make sure that you and your loved ones are getting your rest every night. For more detailed information, read this article from the National Institutes of Health.