Sleep is important for health. We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of health conditions, including obesity. It can also lead to accidents.
Fast facts about sleep
How much sleep we need depends on individual requirements, including age.
Sleep affects our performance, mood, and general health.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to long-term adverse effects on health, and a higher risk of premature death.
Most tips for a good night’s sleep are based on good routines.
Many sleep disorders lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or abnormal events during sleep.
Sleep in adults
However, the amount of sleep a person needs will depend on how they feel and their productivity.
Feeling sleepy or depending on caffeine during the day, for example, may signal insufficient or poor quality sleep.
As we grow older, the structure of the sleep pattern, called “sleep architecture,” changes considerably.
These changes affect:
how we fall asleep and stay asleep
how much time we spend in each stage of sleep
how well we start sleeping and stay asleep
The overall amount of sleep and sleep efficiency both tend to decline with age. As we age, we tend to wake earlier and go to bed earlier.
People aged 65 to 75 years, for example, typically wake up 1.33 hours earlier and go to bed 1.07 hours earlier than those aged 20 to 30 years.
Decreases in melatonin synthesis in older adults have been linked to sleep disorders and a range of adverse health conditions.
Melatonin is the neurohormone produced in response to diminishing light levels at dusk.
Shift work, overseas travel, aging, and other facts can affect melatonin synthesis. This can then disrupt sleep patterns and sleep quality.
Newborns do not have an established circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm and need to sleep more during the night rather than the day as part of a 24-hour cycle develop from the age of 2 or 3 months.
Young infants do not have long, continuous episodes of sleep. Instead, they sleep for 16 to 18 hours a day for short periods of between 2.5 and 4 hours.
By the age of 12 months, sleep patterns develop that involve less sleep and is concentrated more around the nighttime.
The infant also loses a feature of infant sleep known as active sleep, in which there is a lot of body movement. Instead, muscle paralysis with atonia takes place during REM sleep.
Physiological needs, cultural environment, and social changes, such as reduced daytime napping and school routines, mean that the number of sleep children get progressively decreases into adolescence.
Research about alertness, sleep-wake cycles, hormones, and circadian rhythms indicates that adolescents, as determined by puberty rather than only age in years, need up to 10 hours of sleep every night.
However, over two-thirds of high school students say they get less than 8 hours on school nights.
Pregnancy increases the need for sleep, especially in the first trimester. There may also be more daytime sleepiness, which can continue throughout the first few months after giving birth.
This is thought to be in part due to the effects of the hormone progesterone, which increases during pregnancy.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is more likely to occur during pregnancy, as are snoring, strange dreams, and insomnia. These can affect the quality of sleep.
The following tips may help promote sleep during pregnancy:
Sleep whenever and wherever possible.
Take daytime naps when needed.
Sleep on the left side to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to the fetus.
Drink less fluid before bed and, if woken, go to the toilet at night.
Reduce sleep disturbance by avoiding putting on bright lights.
Studies of the effects of sleep deprivation show that a lack of sleep can affect our:
Sleep contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system, including cognitive abilities and emotional health.
Sleep deprivation can decrease alertness and reduce response times. One way to think about this would be the feeling of being drunk, when your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery would be altered, which occurs after not having any sleep for 24 hours straight Doctors In Dubai.
Brain imaging has shown that pathways for memory and learning are active during certain sleep stages. We need to sleep for clear thinking, normal reactions and the creation of memories.
Emotional and social functioning may depend on good sleep, and the mood is affected by deprivation. Not sleeping enough may increase the risk of depression.
Sleep enables the body to produce hormones essential to childhood growth and development and health maintenance in adults.
These hormones help the body to:
High blood pressure, heart disease, and other adverse medical conditions may be more likely if sleep is poor in quantity or quality.
Sleep also appears to promote metabolism and energy use. Poor sleep has been linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and poorer dietary choices Doctors in Sharjah.
Obesity and being overweight also increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. This disrupts sleep and can make it harder to lose weight.