When we’re talking to clients at our bed and mattress showroom in Ashford, Kent we’re regularly asked this question.
Everyone needs a healthy amount of sleep, but the actual number of hours we need varies throughout our life.
We need most sleep during infancy, when the most development and growth takes place. Newborns up to a year old can sleep for around 15 hours a day, with this number slowly decreasing through childhood. By 12 years old children should still be getting around 10 hours sleep a night, with teenagers needing 8-9 hours.
Despite the widely recommended average of 8 hours of sleep a night, in adulthood there is an acceptable range of 7-9 hours, which means you might be doing better than you think! This remains the same until around 65, when the range reduces again to 7-8 hours per night.
There are differences between the age groups in the way we sleep, too. Children easily drift into deep sleep and spend more time in this stage, when most growth hormone is released. As you age, you’re likely to spend more time in light sleep stages.
Effects of sleep deprivation
We might not know exactly why we need to sleep, but we do know there are lots of bad effects of sleep deprivation. Even after one poor night’s sleep, we usually feel unfocused, run down and short-tempered, and these effects only get worse over time.
After several sleepless nights, you’ll find it increasingly harder to concentrate, start to feel down or more stressed as your cortisol levels rise, and you’re more likely to forget things. Your immune system will be weakened, and you’ll also risk causing injury to yourself through clumsy accidents, particularly if you drive.
There’s also some truth in the phrase ‘beauty sleep’; not getting enough sleep can almost immediately leave you with bags under your eyes and uneven skin tone. Cortisol, the stress hormone that drops during sleep, also breaks down collagen, the protein that keeps your skin smooth, resulting in loose skin and premature wrinkling.
If you continue to lose sleep over time, more serious long-term health problems can emerge. High blood pressure, heart attacks and diabetes have all been linked to chronic sleep deprivation, and those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to gain weight over time.
While there’s still lots to discover about what happens during sleep and why we need it so much, what is undeniable is that regular high-quality sleep is essential to our physical and psychological wellbeing. Find out more about the signs of sleep deprivation and how to solve follow our blog at www.thesleepstoreandmore.co.uk, and consult a medical professional if you’re concerned about your sleep.
At our showroom in Ashford kent we can advise you on the best mattress or bed to aid a restful and restorative nights sleep, if your mattress is over 8 years old it my be time to replace this. With over 70 beds and mattresses on show, we will endeavour to find the correct level of comfort and support to match your budget.