Sleep in adults and children
Sleep is important for children’s learning and behavior. Sleep helps to restore physical and mental health and keep our memory and immune system on track. Sleep also helps children’s brains grow.Children who do not get enough sleep may not be able to learn as well as their school friends who get enough sleep.
Sleep is vital to human health, and a good night’s sleep is essential to overall physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Sleep loss causes issues with memory, attention, mood regulation, complex thought, motor responses to stimuli, and performance at work or school. Sleep loss may also disrupt thermoregulation and increase the risk of various physical and mental disorders. Short and long sleep duration is associated with up to a two-fold increased risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, incident cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, substance abuse, and increased death rates in multiple studies. In addition, an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents each year are believed to be the result of drivers’ drowsiness or fatigue behind the wheel.
Despite the physiological need, nearly 70 percent of high school adolescents sleep less than the recommended 8-9 hours a night. An insufficient amount of sleep in this age group is associated with suicide risk, obesity, depression, mood problems, low grades, and delinquent behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has declared insufficient sleep a “public health problem.” more than a third of American adults and children are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Our behaviors during the day, and especially before bedtime, can have a major impact on your sleep.
They can promote healthy sleep or contribute to sleeplessness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a relaxing bedtime ritual and winding down before bed.
Our sleep cycle is defined by five stages and two distinct parts-rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep-that work to promote not only the quantity of sleep but also the quality of sleep, which impacts overall health. Each stage of sleep is influenced by various n-euro chemical actions among the brain regions. Sleep patterns evolve across the normal aging process. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society developed two consensus recommendations1,2 for the amount of sleep that adults, teens, and children require for optimal health and functioning (see table below) which was also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Main Differences Between Kid and Adult Sleep
For one thing, kids sleep a lot more. Babies rack up 14 to 18 hours of slumber, although it’s sprinkled in little bits throughout the night and day. Somewhere between the second and sixth month, day sleep coalesces into 1-2 hour naps and night sleep forms blocks of 6-10 hours.
During the toddler years, total daily sleep gradually drifts down to 11 or 12 hours (with naps of 1 to 2 hours) for a two-year-old. And then drops to 10 or 11 hours (with no naps) for a five-year-old.
Kids also doze off earlier than grown-ups. Babies fall asleep between 9 and 10 p.m., and from 6 mos. to 6 years of age, infants sack out between 8 and 9 p.m. (the earliest bedtimes belong to 18-23 to month olds, who often get tucked in around 8 p.m.)
Another pivotal difference is that a single adult sleep cycle last 90 minutes, while, as you can see in the next graph, young children zip through a cycle (from light to deep sleep and back to light, with a bit of REM tacked on) in just 60 minutes.
These shorter cycles will have a huge impact on your life. Why? Because speedier cycles mean that your child will return to very light–easily disturbed sleep every hour. No wonder little kids are so easily disturbed by a little hunger or teething.
Finally, as shown in the graph above, your mix of NREM and REM is very different from your child’s. We spend about 85% of the night in restorative NREM while babies spend just 50% in NREM (this is when kids can snooze through roaring basketball games). On the other hand, babies spend a massive 40-50% of their sleep in dream/memory boosting REM (versus about 15% in adults).
In other words, infants have 5 times more REM sleep than adults (8 hours versus 1.5). This gives them enough time to sift through all the day’s chaotic happenings to figure out which new memories to file away and which to forget.