Everything you should know and more about sleep

Sarah Fitzgerald

In order to meet all the demands in our lives like doing homework, we often tend to cut back on sleep. But if we never slept, we would eventually die. Why? Because sleep is a chance for our bodies to refuel.

Even minimal sleep loss takes a harsh effect on your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress. Sleep affects your life, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, and even your weight.

But the average amount of sleep a human needs varies upon age. According to the National Institutes of Health the average amount a person needs upon their age is as follows:

Newborns: 12-18 hours

Infants: 14-15 hours

Toddlers: 12-14 hours

Preschoolers: 11-13 hours

School Aged: 10-11 hours

Teens and Preteens: 8.5-10 hours

Adults: 7.5-9 hours

A representative from the National Institutes of Health says, “most average adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. But of course, sleep varies for everyone, most of us sleep more than we need to.”

So when we were babies, we had the best of the best. We got to sleep for half a day! But of course now that we are getting older, we have the priviledge to stay up later but most of us regret it in the morning.

Are you sleep deprived? Sleep deprivation has many symptoms. You may be sleep deprived if you…

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  •  rely on the snooze button
  • have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  •  feel sluggish in the afternoon, get sleepy in lectures
  • get drousy after heavy  meals or when driving (dangerous!)
  • need to nap to get through the day
  • fall asleep while watching T.V, feel the need to sleep in on the weekends
  • fall asleep within 5 minutes of going to bed

Kathleen Fitzgerald says, “In the morning, I never hear my alarm clock in the morning. I’ll sleep right through it and I always have to have my Dad wake me up. I hope I don’t have issues in college!”

Lack of sleep affects your judgement, coordination, and reaction times. In order to get a good night’s sleep night after night you should probably keep a regular sleep schedule.

A regular sleep cycle is going to bed and getting up at the same time each day; you will feel refreshed and energized.

If you did not know this, but snoring is a sleep disorder. Snoring can affect anyone at any age, although it is more frequent with men and overweight people.

 Snoring cannot be controlled unless you get surgery. But occasional snoring is very normal. It happens to almost everyone.

But snoring uncontrollably every night is an issue. Blocked nasal passages is a very common cause to snoring. But poor muscle tone in your throat and tongue can be another symptom as well.

There are health risks involved with snoring. Long interruptions of breathing can occur and you may wake up frequently during the night. But If you have a serious problem with snoring then you should probably see a doctor. If you don’t snore all the time and your sleep isn’t affected then you are fine.

 So on the weekends, it might be hard since you are used to getting up at such an early hour. But instead of sleeping in on the weekends until 11 AM, sleep in until maybe 9:00 AM. That way you will be able to enjoy extra daylight!

Napping is your friend! In order to make up for “sleep debt” get a nap in after school. But be smart with it. Nap for a maximum of 30 minutes after school so you don’t suffer from insomnia!

Kelly Luttazi says, ” I never nap. One time I took a nap after school and I had a horrible time trying to fall asleep that night. I guess naps aren’t for me.”

Another tip is befriend the daylight. Go outside in the sun and soak it up. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is controlled by light exposure.

In order to get good sleep you got to have an acceptable bedroom to sleep in. Keep the noise down, keep your room cool, and make sure your bed is comfortable.

Your bed is your best friend. In the morning, you dread to get out. Especially in the winter, no one looks forward to getting out of their warm bed and facing the chill in your house.

When we were little, we never wanted to go to sleep. Some of us threw tantrums and hated the idea of sleep. But now, it is different. As we get older, our personalities and emotions change.

We get assigned more homework and on school nights, some of us stay up until midnight doing homework. Teenagers love sleep. But really, who doesn’t like sleep?

For those of you who are going to take psychology,  you are going to learn about REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement. REM typically occupies 20-30% of total sleep which is about an hour and a half to two hours of sleep. You usually expierence 4 to 5 periods of REM. REM is when your dreams take place.  

You may think you never dream but this is not the case. Everyone dreams. You just can’t remember most of them. On average you have 4-6 dreams per night during REM.

Eating right and getting regular exercise is a HUGE factor for a good night’s sleep. Stay away from big meals at night, cut down on caffeine after lunch, and in general just eat healthy! Your parents have you told you since you were toddlers to eat fruit instead of fatty foods.

Well, they are right when it comes to getting some good sleep.  Fatty foods take a lot of work to digest your stomach which may have you up in the middle of the night.

Here are some interesting facts about sleep:

  • Some people sleep with their eyes open without even knowing it. This is known as a “Cat Nap”
  • If it takes less than 5 minutes to fall asleep at night, you are most likely sleep deprived
  • Snoring only occurs during Non-REM sleep.

For more information: http://helpguide.org/life/sleep_tips.htm