How Much Sleep Do I Need?

06/07/2020 12:10 AM IST

A lot of people wonder why do we really need to sleep, why to waste time sleeping when you can do so much more or why sleep for 7 hours etc. So let's look at the importance of sleep and how much sleep does one actually need.

We shall start by answering why to sleep. When you are awake you are constantly doing something - you work, you do physical activities, and you are also mentally focussing on different tasks - professional, personal, entertainment etc. All these activities tire you out mentally and physically and the body needs time to relax and rejuvenate before you get back to the next day's activity again.

Various researches are available that spells out the importance of sleep and how much one should sleep. One thing to keep in mind is it is not the quantity of sleep but the quality of sleep that is important. Different age groups require different amounts of sleep:
1. New Born children: 11 - 18 hours of sleep

2. Toddler - 8 - 14 hours of sleep

3. Young Children - 8 -12 hours of sleep

4. Teens - 8 - 10 hours of sleep

5. Young Adults - 6 - 11 hours of sleep

6. Adults - 6 - 10 hours of sleep

7. Elders (Senior Citizens) - 6 - 8 hours of sleep

Our body has an inbuilt clock that sends our mind signals when it is time to sleep. Young children receive these signals on auto and they tend to sleep once they are worn out/ tired. However, some children fight sleep as they want to stay up and continue to play... This is the time when you should leave everything you are doing and make sure your child sleeps. If you set a bedtime for children and stick by it, it will eventually become a habit. You can read stories to them in bed or sing songs that are meant to put children to sleep.

As children grow up they think sleep is not important and they would like to continue to keep playing till they are tired and go to sleep on auto. However, if they do not sleep enough then the next day they will be drowsy and irritable, they will also not be able to concentrate well or really be 'present' in whatever they are doing, if they are not well rested. Hence the best thing to do is speak to them and tell them the importance of sleeping on time. Let them decide the time they would like to sleep, also if they don't tend to listen let them experience the side effects of not sleeping on time. When they realise that they cannot function properly without the required hours of sleep, they will eventually follow what is told to them.

As mentioned above it is not the quantity of sleep but the quality of sleep that matters the most. A person sleeps in different stages, initially, it is light sleep, then you fall into a deep slumber and back to light sleep just before you wake up. Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits. However, deep sleep the time when the body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead is particularly important. So make sure you are sleeping well.