Currently, it is known that sleeping patterns change according to the stage of life in which we find ourselves. That is why there are recommended hours of sleep according to age, since organic needs and lifestyle vary over time.
It is very important to sleep the recommended sleep hours according to age. Not sleeping long enough brings big problems; In the same way, sleeping too much is not advisable. Sleep is a fundamental process for proper functioning, especially of the brain.
The amount of time each person should sleep depends on many factors. It is true that there are a number of recommended hours of sleep according to age, but this is only a general indicator. In specific cases there may be variations, depending on the circumstances and condition of each individual.
The importance of adequate sleep
Recommended sleep hours according to age are not an exact figure . In fact, it is very difficult to determine in a precise way the precise ranges. There are young adults who sleep five hours and this is perfect, while others need to sleep nine hours.
Knowing if we are sleeping for the right time depends rather on the signs that indicate that we are not getting enough rest. In general, when a person feels sleepy and irritable during the day, they are probably not resting properly.
Also, when someone wakes up in the morning and after a few minutes he falls asleep again, he may not have had a satisfactory night’s rest. A very reliable test is to sleep for 15 days without any restrictions; This can be done on vacation. If at the end of that stage there is no sleep disorder and the schedules are regular, the person has a good rest.
Recommended sleep hours according to age
Now, as we have noted, adequate sleep time varies depending on our age. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) presented a list of minimum and maximum hours of adequate sleep according to age . It is based on the most recent scientific research in this regard.
Based on that report, the recommended sleep hours according to age are as follows:
- Newborns (0-3 months): between 14 and 17 per day.
- Babies (4-11 months): between 12 and 15 hours daily.
- Young children (1-2 years): between 11 and 14 hours.
- Infants in preschool age (3-5): between 10 and 13 hours.
- School age (6-13): from 9 to 11 hours.
- Adolescents (14-17): between 8 and 10 hours.
- Younger adults (18-25): from 7 to 9 hours.
- Middle age (26-64): between 7 and 9 hours.
- Senior citizens or older adults (65 or older): between 7 and 8 hours.
Why does age influence sleep hours?
Babies need more sleep than adults because this is essential for their proper physical and psychological development. During sleep, in the body of children there is greater production of growth hormone . This is essential to modulate the growth of the organs and the maturation of the nervous system.
Likewise, babies and children are in a permanent learning process. Only through sleep can they organize and fix the information they have received during the day . As growth and maturation are completed, the necessary sleep hours are reduced.
In turn, during adolescence there is a temporary mismatch of the circadian cycle , which is a kind of internal biological clock. This leads them to tend to fall asleep later in the night and, therefore, have more problems getting up early. As we advance in age, we need less sleep.
The grandfather’s hypothesis that sleeps badly
A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society magazine points out that one of the reasons why sleep patterns change with age could be an evolutionary adaptation. This possibility is known by the name of the ‘Hypothesis of the grandfather who sleeps badly’.
According to it, one of the factors that helped our ancestors to survive was the fact that a person was awake at night . Since the elderly performed less activities during the day, and the surveillance work did not involve great efforts, apparently they were in charge of performing that function.
In today’s primitive communities it has been detected that older people go to bed much earlier and wake up at dawn . This could be a behavior inherited from our human ancestors, which complements the explanation about why sleep hours change with age.