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How much sleep you need?

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Dr.Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. says the amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. Consider these general guidelines for different age groups:

In addition to age, other factors may affect how many hours of sleep you need. For example:

  • Pregnancy. Changes in a woman's body during pregnancy can increase the need for sleep.
  • Aging. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, however, your sleeping patterns may change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly and awaken more frequently during the night than do younger adults. This may create a need for or tendency toward daytime napping.
  • Previous sleep deprivation. If you're sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.
  • Sleep quality. If your sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short, you're not getting quality sleep — and the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity.
Age group Recommended amount of sleep
Infants 14 to 15 hours
Toddlers 12 to 14 hours
School-age children 10 to 11 hours
Adults 7 to 9 hours

Although some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Additionally, studies among adults show that getting much more or less than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate.

If you experience frequent daytime sleepiness, even after increasing the amount of quality sleep you get, consult your doctor. He or she may be able to identify any underlying causes — and help you get a better night's sleep.

'Seven hours of sleep is best'

PTI: Six, seven or eight -- so how many hours of sleep are enough for you? It's probably best to aim for seven hours of quality shut-eye every night, says a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

Anoop Shankar and his team at West Virginia University has found that those who sleep more or less than seven hours a day are at a raised risk of developing coronary heart disease, the Sleep' journal reported.

They have based their findings on an analysis of data gathered in a national US study in 2005 on 30,000 adults.

The study found found that the subjects who said they slept nine hours or longer a day were one-and-a-half times more likely than seven-hour sleepers to develop heart disease.

And, adults under 60 who slept five hours or fewer a night raised their risk of developing cardiovascular disease more than threefold compared to people who sleep seven hours, the study found.

According to the researchers, short sleep duration is associated with angina, while both sleeping too little and too much are linked to heart attack and stroke.

The results remained the same after considering age, sex, race, whether the person smoked or drank, whether they were fat or slim, and whether they're active or couch potato.

However, the researchers were unable to find out the exact reason between how long one sleeps and heart disease. But they pointed out sleep duration affects endocrine and metabolic functions and sleep deprivation lead to impaired glucose tolerance, reduced insulin sensitivity and elevated blood pressure, all of which raise risk of hardening arteries.

Shankar said that doctors should screen for changes in sleep duration when assessing patients' risk for heart disease and that public health initiatives consider including a focus on improving sleep quality and quantity.

( Courtesy: )





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