Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Importance of Sleep

Having a newborn has got me thinking about the importance of sleep.  If you have had a child you can understand why...the sleep A LOT!  I found this information re: how long children sleep based on age:

Newborns typically sleep about 15 to 18 hours a day, but only in short periods of two to four hours.
4 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day.
4-12 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day
1-3 Years Old: 12 - 14 hours per day
3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day
There is a lot of sleeping going on here, something that a lot of adults cut back on in the name of productivity.  Well, here are some good reasons not to cut back on sleep per an article found on 
A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week. A short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power, reports the Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
While more research is needed to explore the links between chronic sleep loss and health, it’s safe to say that sleep is too important to shortchange.  
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:
1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new
information to memory through a process called memory
consolidation.  In studies, people who'd slept after learning
a task did better on tests later.
2. Metabolism and weight:  Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime.  These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps and road accidents.
4.  Mood:  Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and moodiness.  Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
5. Cardiovascular health:  Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels and irregular heartbeat.
6. Disease:  Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body's killer cells.  Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

So, take a note from your children, this article, and common sense and  
make sure your body is getting enough consistent rest!


  1. I love to nap on the weekends when I can. I still need at least 8 hours, I don't believe that your need goes down as you get older or maybe I'm getting younger.

  2. Getting enough sleep is high on my list of priorities! Unfortunately, it's not working out all that well, but it sure isn't for lack of trying :(

  3. I've never liked sleeping lol I've always been a night owl and I have HORRIBLE insomnia. Always have. I guess that's why the sleepless nights when my kids were little didn't ever phase me much hahaha

    I usually get 4-6 hours of sleep a night...on the weekends I might even get a nap here and there, but that's usually b/c I'm trying to get the little man to take one. lol

  4. Leah...I am finding this all out too as I am babysitting my 7 month old grandson.

    I know all about not enough sleep as I do shift work and I find it hard to sleep in the day.

  5. uniquecozytreasures - I sleep a whole night clear through...rarely. I have trouble falling asleep so I make a tea infusion of lemon basil leaves and celery seed. This will usually relax my mind enough to start falling asleep a few minutes after I drink it. Or I drink "sleepytime Extra tea".

  6. I am a complete zombie when I don't get enough sleep! A great reminder of something so critical to our health.

  7. Isn't it crazy how much a newborn sleeps? Gradually, the sleep lessens, as you noted. And thinking about it now, I KNOW I deprive myself of much-needed sleep more than I should. Ever since I was little, I've been up late at night. So tonight, maybe I'll try to get to bed an hour earlier and see what happens!

  8. How I wish I slept through the night! Some nights are better than others. Great information here!