Sleep Through the Generations

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Every day there are new studies showing how quality sleep, or lack of it, can impact our lives, regardless of age.  Younger children can suffer academically, with shorter sleep times linked to under-performance and lower grades.  According to the CDC, a recent study showed that sleep-deprived teenagers are more prone to engage in risky behaviors, such as drinking or texting and driving.   Insufficient sleep in adults has been linked with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.  Sleep problems in seniors have been linked with diminished mental capacities and increased rate of injuries from falls and accidents.

With sleep such a critical part of our health and well-being, it is hard to believe that most of us aren’t even aware of the recommended amount of sleep required for each age group. This graph  from the National Sleep Association will help you determine the proper amount of sleep needed for each member of your family. To summarize, we need the most amount of sleep as babies and then slowly require less as we age. Toddlers should sleep 11-14 hours a night, teenagers 8-10 hours, adults 7-9 hours, and lastly seniors, 65 and over, should spend 7-8 hours sleeping each night.

Being aware of optimal sleep time for each member of the family will help reduce sleep deficits.  A chart on the wall or a sleep journal can help everyone stay focused on improving the family’s good sleep habits.   The rewards of good grades, smarter decision-making, and better health are powerful motivators for change.