How Much Sleep Is Enough and Why Sleep Is Good for You— and Skimping on It Isn’t?
Sleep needs vary from person to person, and they change throughout the lifecycle. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns, on the other hand, sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 10 and 12 hours a day. School-aged children and teens need at least
9 hours of sleep a night. Some people believe that adults need less sleep as they get older. But there is no evidence to show that older
people can get by with less sleep than younger people. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stages of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.
Why Sleep Is Good for You— and Skimping on It Isn’t
Does it really matter if you get enough sleep? Absolutely! Not only does the quantity of your sleep matter, but the quality of your sleep is important as well. People whose sleep is interrupted a lot or is cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep. In other words, how well rested you are and how well you function the next day depend on your total sleep time and how much of the various stages of sleep you get each night. Performance: We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are veryactive when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night’s sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving.