Be aware that the average sleep cycle is 90-110 minutes long. Because of this, if you allow your body to finish a full sleep cycle before waking, you will awake feeling less groggy and more refreshed. If you need more sleep, begin by adding 15 extra minutes each night until you’ve reached your optimum level.
Sleep needs also differ depending on our age or stage of life. Getting our required amount of sleep often becomes more difficult as we age, but as adults, our sleep needs generally remain the same for the rest of our lives. There are also a few stages of life that are unique in their sleeping patterns, the first being newborns, infants and toddlers. This age group benefits from frequent naps as part of a regular sleeping schedule.
Second, parents should be aware that as children become teenagers, most of them naturally change and become “night owls.” This makes their bodies more prone to staying up and sleeping in later. Despite this change, teenagers still require 9-10 hours of sleep each night.
Third, pregnant women may benefit from additional sleep but often experience difficulty sleeping for understandable reasons. It’s important for pregnant women and their partners to make sleep a priority and find solutions to their specific sleep complications.
Finally, the elderly tend to spend less time in deep sleep and are more easily awakened. Because of this, regularly scheduled naps during the day can be an effective solution for this population. The chart below outlines the average sleep needs for each age or stage of life.
In addition to your specific sleep need it’s likely you’ve also developed a sleep debt that’s been building up over the recent past due to missed sleep.
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