National Sleep Awareness Week will take place March 2-8, 2015.
This public education campaign promotes the importance of sleep. Each year the week begins with the announcement of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll results and ends with the Daylight Saving Time clock change. The poll investigates many topics regarding sleep and the modern family. The poll reviews data related to sleep in adults and children and how they react to factors such as technology in the bedroom and how sleep impacts overall growth and development.
Children and Sleep
Sleep is important for everyone. For children sleep is especially important as it directly impacts their mental and physical development. By the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake. For toddlers, naps and consistent scheduled bedtimes are important. For school aged children 9-11 hours of sleep are needed. Caffeine, and watching TV close to bed time have been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.
Teens and Sleep
Teenagers need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Approximately 15% of teens report getting enough sleep. Teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns which affect their biological clocks and hurt their sleep quality. The lack of sleep can have consequences that limit their ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. Lack of sleep can contribute to skin problems such as acne. Not getting enough sleep can leaves teens irritable and cause aggressive or inappropriate behavior and can lead to illness.
Adults and Sleep
Adults recommended sleep range is between 7-9 hours of sleep over night. Lack of sleep is linked to depression, obesity, and many other illnesses. Adult sleep necessities change based on activity levels, age, health and sex. For women, requirements change during menopause and pregnancy.
States of Sleep
Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or “quite sleep. During NREM, blood supply to muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or “active” sleep. During REM sleep, our brains are active and dreaming occurs. Our bodies become immobile, breathing and heart rates are irregular.
It is recommended to develop a regular and consistent sleep schedule. Bedrooms should be conducive for sleep by having a cool, quite, and dark environment. Don’t eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of bedtime. Caffeine should be avoided before bedtime and TVs and computers should be kept out of the bedroom. Cellphone use should be avoided an hour before bed to help calm the mind.
For more information on health sleep habits please visit the National Sleep Foundation website.