Q: I am having trouble keeping my eyes open in the middle of the day. I feel so sleepy and want to close them. My friends say I’m staying up way too late at night. How much sleep do I need?
Your friends may be on to something; sleep is essential to our overall health and wellness. However, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how much sleep our bodies require. Many factors come into play when determining the best time to go to bed.
We’ve learned, for example, that when adults 18 years of age and older get less than six to seven hours of sleep each night, they are at a higher risk of developing diseases. The lack of sleep can negatively affect your blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
While adults should aim for six to seven hours of shut-eye, it is recommended that people 6 to 13 years of age should sleep nine to 11 hours each night. Children need more sleep than adults because they are at an important stage of their growth and development. Not surprisingly, newborns need 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day, and children under age 1 need 10 hours of sleep plus four hours of naps.
Lucky for us, naps aren’t just for kids. While they do not necessarily compensate for a lousy night’s sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes could help to improve your mood, alertness and performance. If you are able, take a few minutes during your lunch break to catch a few zzz’s.
Daytime drowsiness can also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea and may need to be evaluated by a physician. Risk factors include: loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, weighing more than your ideal body weight, and being told you stop breathing when you sleep.
Bottom line, no matter your stage of life, sleep is beneficial to your overall health. It is a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures throughout the day.
If you do not have a primary care team, rest assured that Accordia Health is only a phone call away – (251) 824-8320.