Cycling Your Sleep
Sleep is an important part of our lives. Without enough of it our bodies collapse with fatigue. However, different people do sleep differently and their bodies require different amounts of sleep. Some people can sleep as little as 5 hours a night and function just fine day to day, and some people require more than 9 hours of sleep to function properly. Age is also a factor in the amount of sleep you need, as younger people such as children and teenagers, need much more sleep per night than an elderly person.
So, How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep?
Most people never think about how much sleep they need each night to feel their best, they just know that they don't get enough. The number of hours needed for sleep depends on your body’s circadian rhythm, or your biological clock's sleep-wake cycles. Every night when you sleep your body goes through several cycles of sleep. Each stage of sleep lasts approximately 90-110 minutes and consists of 2 major stages; Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM). The America Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) further divides NREM into N1, N2, and N3 stages, the last of which is also called delta or slow-wave sleep (SWS). This is when you’re in your deepest sleep; the most difficult to wake from. This stage is commonly when sleepwalking and bed-wetting will occur.
The typical sleep cycle stages are in the order of;
N1 - N2 - N3 - N2 - REM
Age Plays a Factor!
What is the recommended number of hours you should be sleeping per night? As noted above, elderly people will require less sleep than younger people. That being said; as newborns, we essentially are continually cycling between asleep and wake states, neither diurnal nor nocturnal. During the first year, this pattern starts to condense into a single sleep period.
- At year one, the child will typically sleep 10 hours a night.
- By age 4-5, the child will actually sleep between 11-12 hours per night.
- At age 10, the child will begin sleeping about 10 hours a night again. This should continue into the teenage years.
- Adults typically need 7-8 hours per night, and that number will decrease as you age. However, even seniors should try to maintain 6-7 hours per night.
Not getting the appropriate amount of sleep per night can seriously inhibit your functionality throughout the day. If you have trouble sleeping you may want to consult with your doctor, who may recommend you have a sleep study done.