4 Questions to Ask about Sleep

4 Questions to Ask about Sleep

If you have questions about the quality of your sleep, we have answers. The sleep specialists at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders are here to help you with all of your questions and concerns. Call Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders today to book an appointment.

Sleep is one of the most fundamental functions of organic life and is required for every living organism to function properly. Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping, yet a large number of the population is not getting enough. Sleep clinics can help patients improve the quality of their sleep by monitoring their sleeping patterns and nightly activity, providing an invaluable service that positively impacts almost every area of health.

How much sleep do I really need?

There is a big difference between the amount of sleep one needs to function optimally and the amount that one can simply ‘get by on. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), the average adult gets less than seven hours of sleep per night. In today’s perpetually busy and fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound like enough. However, it can actually lead to chronic sleep deprivation. Just because adults can function on six or seven hours of sleep does not mean that they would not feel a lot better and be more productive if they got an extra hour or two of sleep every night.

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, to function at their best, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Children and teens need even more. And although our sleep needs tend to decrease with age, most older people still need at least seven hours of sleep each night. If some people have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help reach the required amount of sleep.

The best way to figure out if you are getting enough sleep is to evaluate how you feel throughout the day. If you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep, you will feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime. The following sleep requirements per age group are as follows:

  • Newborn to 3 months old need 14 – 17 hours of sleep
  • 4 to 11 months old need 12 – 15 hours of sleep
  • 1 to 2 years old need 11 – 14 hours of sleep
  • 3 to 5 years old need 10 – 13 hours of sleep
  • 6 to 13 years old need 9 – 11 hours of sleep
  • 14 to 17 years old need 8 – 10 hours of sleep
  • Young adults (18 to 25 years old) need 7 – 9 hours of sleep
  • Adults (26 to 64 years old) need 7 – 9 hours of sleep
  • Older adults (65+) need 7 – 8 hours of sleep

What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?

If you do not get enough sleep, it has the following effects on the body:

  • Increased rate of sickness
  • Damage to the heart
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Inability to think properly
  • Memory issues
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • More accident-prone
  • Damage to the skin

What are some of the warning signs of sleep deprivation?

A person who does not get enough quality sleep may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • A reduced sex drive
  • Constant hunger
  • Weight gain
  • Increased impulsiveness
  • Poor memory
  • A decline in cognitive function and decision making ability
  • Hindered motor skills
  • Emotional instability and overreaction to emotional stimuli
  • The weakened immune system, which leads to getting sick more often
  • Vision problems
  • Decreased skin health

Do older adults experience more sleep problems?

Older adults are typically more susceptible to developing sleep disorders, which can be attributed to a number of factors. Seniors are at higher risk of medical and psychiatric conditions that can lead to sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, or restless legs syndrome. The internal circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles can also change with age. These changes can affect the length and quality of sleep. In addition, certain medications can cause sleep disturbances, such as those used to alleviate symptoms of geriatric medical conditions.

If you or someone you love is showing signs and symptoms of not getting enough sleep every night, the professionals at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders can help. Our sleep specialists can help you figure out why you can’t sleep and will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. Call us today to book an appointment. We serve patients from Lafayette IN, Shadeland IN, Battle Ground IN, Ash Grove IN, Dayton IN, and Buck Creek IN.

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