Sleep varies by age so the following are numbers from the National Sleep Foundation are a good rule of thumb, but depending on genetics, age, exhaustion level and other independent factors, these are the most current numbers:
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
Understand that by not getting enough sleep you are exposing yourself to a greater risk of negative health consequences. Sleep occurs in cycles and is one of the most important things you can do for your body everyday. Through rapid eye movement (REM) and deep sleep cycles, your brain organizes your days activities and allows your body to get the rest it needs in order to function. Recent studies have shown that the organization cycle happens closer to the END of your overall rest time, which means your processing yesterday moments before you begin today! Consequently, if you are waking up too early in the middle of this cycle you're not getting the process time you need which research has shown cuts into your mental sharpness for the remainder of the day.
Sleep Hack: Wake up as natural as possible. Use an eye mask during the summer months so the sun doesn't dictate when you awake. Don't startle yourself awake by loud noises, have a soft sound that gradually wakes you in the morning. This also means, if you wake up before your alarm, it's time to get up, your body is ready to go!
You have tried to get enough sleep, you've practiced healthy habits mentioned above and the tiredness still sets in halfway through the day, it's time to learn from other cultures. Take a siesta, 20 minutes or so in the middle of the day have been associated with a decrease in coronary mortality and is literally built into our biological rhythms of sleep. Research tracking thousands of subjects' sleep habits continue to show evidence the body is in need of rest during the mid-afternoon, and to strengthen their research it's not just those who did not get enough sleep the night before, it's innate in EVERYONE! You might have also heard that a mid-afternoon nap spawns from a large meal and the bodies need energy to process but other students negate that as well, all persons had the same dip in brain activity whether they had lunch or not.
Sleep Hack: Know where you can get a quick nap in. Don't spend your precious nap time catching up on shows or reading the sports blog, get to your nap spot and get that 20 minutes you deserve. Trust me, you'll be much more productive. If George Costanza knew it to be true, how have you not yet seen the light?