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Posted in Senior Wellness | December 2016

You need your sleep

you-need-your-sleep

Obviously we all know that when we don’t get enough sleep we feel tired and maybe a bit foggy for the rest of the day. We might even be short-tempered and a little forgetful. You can certainly feel the effects of a sleep deficit, and it’s important to know why you’re feeling that way to understand why it’s so important to get the sleep you need.

5 reasons you should sleep more:

  1. Sleep helps solidify and consolidate memories. During the day your brain takes in a lot of information as you go about your daily tasks. During the night while you sleep those bits of information are processed in your brain and moved from your short-term memory over to the stronger, long-term memory. That’s why after you’ve had a good sleep, you’re more able to retain information and perform better on memory-related tasks.1
  2. Sleep helps with weight control. This is in part because when you’re tired you may opt to sit on the couch instead of going for that long after-dinner stroll, but it’s also because of fluctuations in a hormone called leptin which plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels drop, making you feel hungrier. To make matters worse, people who are tired tend to crave high-fat and high-calorie foods.2
  3. Sleep helps protect you from heart disease and diabetes. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7-8 hours each night have a greater risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.3
  4. Sleep helps regulate your emotions. Those who are chronically sleep deprived are more apt to struggle with anxiety disorders and depression. This is likely because of the important emotional processing that occurs during sleep, especially during the REM stage, or “dream sleep.”4
  5. Sleep helps children grow and adults repair. Deep or “slow-wave” sleep is the time when we produce most of our growth hormone. In children, that means sleep is critical to healthy growth and development. In adult it’s all about tissue repair and restoration.5

Knowing why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep is only half the battle. Getting that sleep is the other half. According to the National Sleep Foundation6, this is how much sleep you and the members of your family should be getting:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours

For some great tips and advice on getting a good night’s sleep, read our articles on how to sleep better naturally, and how to sleep like a baby when you’re all grown up. If you think snoring might be the reason why you or a loved one isn’t getting the right amount of sleep every night, check out our Midnight Serenade article for more information about the causes of snoring, and natural ways you may be able to help prevent it.

 

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SOURCES

  1. https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/why-do-we-need-sleep
  2. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/9-reasons-to-sleep-more#2
  3. https://authoritynutrition.com/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important/
  4. http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/robert-rosenberg-sleep-answers/
  5. http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/robert-rosenberg-sleep-answers/
  6. https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

 

414261E CAN/US (12/16)

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