How Many Hours Should You Sleep?

Sleep Requirement by Age

Sleep is the best meditation.

– Dalai Lama

Sleep is essential at every age. It is required for a healthy body and brain. Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. For young children, sleep is extremely important for their proper growth and development.

Age Wise Sleep Requirement

The question many of us wonder about is the right amount of sleep that we need. This is especially true for parents of young children who are anxious whether their child is getting enough sleep.

Scientific evidence suggests that sleep requirement varies with age. Children require more number of hours of sleep for their physical and mental growth while in adults the requirement is lower.

As per CDC (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the following is the recommended hours of sleep for each age group:

While this is the recommended duration, the requirement may vary based on your daily routine, your physical activity and your health conditions and one hour more or less than this range is also considered appropriate and not a cause of concern.

Tips for Good Sleep Hygiene

I have heard many parents wonder, especially for the pre-teen children about how they can ensure 9-12 hours of sleep every day. The children want to stay up late and have to wake up early for their school.

Also Read: 5 Habits for Better Health in Children

Since waking up time is fixed for most of the children (because of school), the only time we can control is the bed time. Ensuring that the child is in bed by 8:30pm will ensure that he gets 10 hours of sleep if he wakes up at 6:30am.

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.

— Thomas Dekker

What has helped me with my son is having good sleep habits (also called sleep hygiene). These are good for adults too for a better quality sleep.

1. Being consistent

On most days, we have dinner between 7pm and 7:30pm and after some quiet, relaxed time, I try to put my son to bed by 8:30. Try not to have a very excitable time or play just before bed. Doing a relaxed activity like talking about the day, reading, listening to soft music will help relax the body and brain and prepare it for sleep.

2. No screen time at least 1 hour before bed

No screen time means no television, laptop or phones before bed time. This goes not only for my son but also for us (I do ensure it for the child, but unfortunately not always for the adults at home!). Not having a television in the bedroom helps significantly in achieving this.

Do NOT have a laptop on bed

3. Have a light dinner

Heavy breakfast, average lunch and light dinner is what all books tell us. It has a good effect on the digestive system and also on the quality of sleep. A heavy dinner will interfere with a good quality sleep and even if you sleep for enough ‘hours’, you might not feel refreshed.

4. Exercise

Exercising every day and being physically active helps you fall asleep more easily.

It does not mean exercising right before bedtime. If you let the child play a highly physical game right before bedtime, it will be even more difficult to get him to sleep. Being active the rest of the day is what will help.

Fatigue is the best pillow.

— Benjamin Franklin

Happy Sleeping!

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