How Much Sleep Does A Baby Really Need
Babies vary substantially in the amount of sleep that they need, especially during the first year postpartum.
For example, more than half of all 6-month-olds get at least 12 hours of sleep each day. Yet a sizeable percentage of babies who appear to be otherwise healthy sleep substantially less. So merely sleeping less-than-average doesnt mean your baby has a problem .
This Parenting Science article about the opens in a new windownormal range of sleep times in infants may help put your concerns about baby sleep deprivation in perspective.
Still, its possible for things to go wrong, even if your babys total sleep time falls within this broad range of normal variation.
For instance, your baby may take a long time to fall asleep at night, or wake up more frequently than most other babies do. Is this evidence of a problem? Is it something you can improve?
As I explain elsewhere, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to bedtime resistance and frequent night wakings. Read more about these factors and how to fix them in this trouble-shooting guide.
And whether your baby resists bedtime, or wakes up very frequently, you may wonder about our babys personal sleep requirements.
Some babies log as little as 9-10 hours of total sleep time each day, and dont appear to suffer from any health problems. But should we assume that all babies sleeping this little are receiving the optimal amount of sleep? No, we shouldnt.
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Attention And Working Memory
Among the possible physical consequences of sleep deprivation, deficits in attention and working memory are perhaps the most important such lapses in mundane routines can lead to unfortunate results, from forgetting ingredients while cooking to missing a sentence while taking notes. Performing tasks that require attention appears to be correlated with number of hours of sleep received each night, declining as a function of hours of sleep deprivation. Working memory is tested by methods such as choice-reaction time tasks.
The attentional lapses also extend into more critical domains in which the consequences can be life-or-death car crashes and industrial disasters can result from inattentiveness attributable to sleep deprivation. To empirically measure the magnitude of attention deficits, researchers typically employ the psychomotor vigilance task which requires the subject to press a button in response to a light at random intervals. Failure to press the button in response to the stimulus is recorded as an error, attributable to the microsleeps that occur as a product of sleep deprivation.
What Does It Mean To Be Overtired
The state of being overtired can mean several things. Maybe you havent had enough sleep in a single 24-hour period or you havent had enough sleep over consecutive days for a length of time.
For infants, toddlers, and children, overtiredness could be the result of skipped naps, a late bedtime, or unrestful sleep.
No matter the cause of your overtiredness, it can cause many unwanted symptoms and affect your overall health. Getting a proper amount of daily sleep for your age affects your well-being.
You may experience overtiredness after a single day of not enough sleep, or you may have chronic overtiredness because youre missing out on adequate sleep for a long stretch of time. One term commonly used for overtiredness caused by multiple days, weeks, or years of sleep deprivation is sleep debt.
There are several symptoms of overtiredness, including:
- lack of clear thinking
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Customize Your Bedroom Environment
Design your bedroom environment to be ideal for your relaxation. Youre less likely to avoid going to bed if your sleep setting is inviting and suits your comfort preferences.
Your mattress and pillows should offer plenty of support, and your bedding should help you feel cozy while maintaining a moderate temperature. To minimize potential sleep disruptions, try to make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible.
What Does It Mean To Be Sleep Deprived And How Are Those Sleepless Nights Really Affecting You
Sleep is one of the most primal human necessities, yet it is equally one of the most important. However, a good nights sleep is becoming extremely rare in todays society. Whether it be caused by work, school, family, or everyday activities, everyone has likely experienced sleep-deprivation at least once in their lifetime. Despite the apparent question as to what exactly characterizes sleep-deprivation, loss of sleep has been increasingly proven to play a critical role in the functioning of the human body. Sleep loss is likely a strong correlate to impaired performance of some of the most important everyday tasks. Those who are sleep-deprived, whether totally or partially, may experience adverse effects on both cognitive and psychological functions pertaining to attentiveness, memory, decision making, mental health, and more.
The photo found below depicts the human body and the multiple different areas of which sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on. Although this essay aims to focus on the cognitive and psychological impairments of the body by sleep deprivation, there are numerous other functions that are also impaired. From examining this figure, an inference can be made that the various areas of the body that are affected by sleep deprivation are as follows: the reproductive system, the immune system, cognitive functioning, psychological functioning, the skeletal system, and more.
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Whats Happening In Your Brain
This little subgroup of cells essentially turns out the lights in the brain and lets it go to sleep. Its like turning a master switcha slumber switch. Dr. Cliff Saper
When we fight our brains on this, we go through periods of sleep and wakefulness that only last a few seconds each, flipping back and forth between consciousness. A study conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine suggests that this phenomenon significantly interferes with cognitive performance, mood, and motor function.
How Sleep Effects The Brains Circadian Clock:
Much like the body regulates activities such as eating, drinking and breathing, sleep is regulated by the brains circadian clock . It is estimated that between 8-15% of the gene expression is circadian.
Among other biological activities, growth hormones are secreted while testosterone and thyrotropin are inhibited during sleep. Our circadian clock receives feedback signals from the liver, heart, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and even from the skin and lymphocytes. A disruption in circadian rhythm from sleep deprivation can offset the feedback clocks in all of these major stakeholders of health. It must then be of no surprise, that a significant body of emerging evidence indicate that sleep deprivation is a risk factor for obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and an independent predictor of stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease .
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People With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is restricted during sleep either due to breathing obstruction or other factors that cause a sleeping person to periodically stop breathing. This condition is serious and keeps the brain from getting enough oxygen during sleep, meaning those with sleep apnea may experience a higher than average level of daytime sleepiness.
A study conducted in Germany in 2008 found that those with sleep apnea are at twice the risk for microsleep related auto accidents than those without the condition.
Sleep Increases Sex Drive
Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep experience a loss of libido and less of an interest in sex, research suggests.
Men who suffer from sleep apnoea a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido.
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Fast Facts On Sleep Deprivation
- Loss of sleep modifies normal body functions and disrupts the ability to focus on environmental sensory input
- Lack of sleep has been found to be responsible for tragic accidents involving airplanes, ships, trains, automobiles, and nuclear power plants
- Children and youngsters are most vulnerable to the negative effects of sleep loss
- When you are sleep deprived, you start to gather a sleep debt
- Sleep deprivation can be a symptom of a sleep disorder that has not been diagnosed or even any other medical issue
Get The Rest You Need
Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Make sure itâs restful:
- Stick to a schedule, which means going to bed and waking up about the same time each day.
- Keep your room cool, quiet, and dark.
- Exercise regularly, especially workouts that get your heart pumping. It may promote deeper sleep.
A good nightâs sleep repairs the body and mind, which helps you function at your best.
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Why Is It Dangerous
If youre like most of us, around this point you may be frantically asking yourself what happens if I experience microsleep? Or has it happened already? While the answers might not be comforting, its important to understand the risks.
Microsleeps are involuntary and a result of the brain effectively revoking awake privileges for those of us who cant seem to get enough sleep at night. When these instances occur on the road or while operating machinery, the risk for mistakes is amplified along with the seriousness of the consequences. Three seconds at sixty miles per hour is long enough to travel three hundred feet in the wrong direction, whether thats into a ditch, off a cliff, or into a pedestrian.
There are more risks than just motor vehicle operation, however. These microsleeps can happen at work while editing spreadsheets, entering important data, or handling sensitive information.
While we fight our brains attempts to sleep, we tend to make more mistakes, according to a study performed on rats. In the study, the rats experiencing periods of microsleep were much less successful at tasks that required them to reach sugar pellets than rats who were fully awake. Applied to humans, microsleep seems to complicate even the normally simple daily tasks.
Sleep Deprivation Vs Sleep Deficiency
Many people think that sleep deprivation and sleep deficiency are the same thing but they are quite different from one another. Sleep deprivation is a condition which results from not getting enough sleep. Sleep deficiency is a much more comprehensive concept and can be a more serious problem. You have sleep deficiency if you do not get enough sleep and you sleep at times when you should not be sleeping, you sleep poorly, or you have some type of sleep disorder.
Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep. When you are sleep deprived, it can cause you to have fatigue, daytime sleepiness, be clumsy and have weight changes. It can affect your brain and cognitive function. When a person is sleep deprived many things can occur.
There are many causes of sleep deprivation. The stresses of your life may affect our ability to sleep well at night. A person may also be sleep deprived because of medical or mental-health conditions that disrupt our sleep and be well aware that they are sleep-deprived. It is important to realize that sleep deprivation is often caused by unrecognized sleep disorders . After a night of sleep, you may be still be sleepy and not feel restored and refreshed. Most people are not even going to be aware that they are sleep deprived. This is why many people are undiagnosed for being sleep deprived for many years.
Effects of Being Sleep Deprived
- Achy muscles
- Temper tantrums in children
Combating Sleep Deprivation
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You’re Having Trouble Seeing
“When fatigued, you’re not able to control the muscles of the eye as well,” says Steven Shanbom, MD, an ophthalmologist in Berkley, Mich. First, skimping on shuteye tires out the ciliary muscle, which helps your eyes focus. The result: you’ll have a harder time reading up close, he says. Light can also affect the ciliary muscle. A 1999 NIH study showed a strong correlation between children who slept with the light on and near-sightedness later in life. While most adults sleep in total darkness, modern blue-light technology like TVs, computers, and cell phones can also contribute to poor sleep.
Then there’s the extra ocular muscle, which moves the eye from side to side and up and down. “Many people have a muscle imbalance where their eyes don’t track well together,” Dr. Shanbom says, but in a well-rested person the eyes can compensate on their own. A lack of sleep makes the misalignment harder to control, potentially resulting in double vision. You might notice both of these vision problems after one night of poor sleep, but they will persist the less time you spend in bed.
Negative Impacts Of Sleep Deprivation
Many studies make it clear that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Sleep-deprived people who are tested by using a driving simulator or by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated. Sleep deprivation also magnifies alcohols effects on the body, so a fatigued person who drinks will become much more impaired than someone who is well-rested.
Driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since drowsiness is the brains last step before falling asleep, driving while drowsy can and often does lead to disaster. Caffeine and other stimulants cannot overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation. If you have trouble keeping your eyes focused, if you cant stop yawning, or if you cant remember driving the last few miles, you are probably too drowsy to drive safely.
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You Cant Recall Things Easily
Struggling to recall peoples names or simple facts? Chances are you need to hit the sack a little longer each night. Poor concentration and memory is closely linked to sleep deprivation.
So the next time youre tempted to pull an all-nighter to study or worth through that important presentation, youre doing yourself no favours.
The brain actually retains facts better once its had time to process the information through sleep.
Sleep Deprivation Test #: The Spoon Method
Do you constantly struggle to keep your eyes open when youre riding the bus home from work?
Maybe youve been popping OTC pills to help you sleep at night, but the side effects are leaving you drowsy and disoriented during the day.
Whatevers happening, you know that your sleeping pattern isnt what it should be and thats a real problem.
After all, no matter who you are, or what you do, all living creatures need sleep to survive. We use sleep as one of our bodies most crucial fuels along with oxygen and food.
Fail to get enough sleepinto your daily schedule, and you could suffer from a host of terrifying side-effects, ranging all the way from increased chances of chronic illness, to depression.
The question is, how do you know the difference between just being a little sleepy, and being significantly sleep deprived?
Its easier than youd think.
Heres your introduction to sleep deprivation tests, and how they work.
Sleep deprivation test #1: The spoon method
We often assume that studies into our sleeping mechanisms are going to be very complex.
Say the words sleep test to someone, and the immediately imagine electrodes and beeping machines. However, the most common sleep deprivation test is a lot simpler than youd think.
Designed to help anyone determine just how problematic their sleep schedule might be, the Sleep Onset Latency Test was created by a man named Nathaniel Kleitman.
If it takes you longer than 15 minutes to get to sleep, youre probably fine.
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What Does Sleep Deprivation Mean
Sleep deprivation simply means you arent getting enough sleep each night.
Whilst its pretty normal to suffer from the odd bad nights sleep, if youre regularly finding yourself in a state of fatigue during waking hours your quality of sleep may be poor even if youre catching your full 6-8 recommended hours.
Chronic sleep deprivation however is a little different.
If you have been suffering with sleep deprivation for 3 months or more, you likely fall into the chronic sleep deprivation category.
If youre routinely skipping a few hours sleep to catch up on studies or work or are suffering with insomnia, theres a good chance youre suffering with chronic sleep deprivation, a more severe form.
Tips For Getting Overtired Infants Toddlers And Children To Bed
You may find it difficult to settle an overtired child down to bed. Its important to calm your child before they go to sleep.
Some ways to unwind a child for bedtime include:
- avoid overstimulating activities prior to bedtime
- have a nightly routine, such as a bath, a story, and a lullaby prior to bedtime, and stick to it each night
- keep your childs room cool, dark, and quiet
- use a white noise machine to block out any unwanted noises
Managing bedtime fears
Reading your child books about monsters, the dark, and other fears can help them to overcome bedtime anxiety. Here are some books you may want to try:
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How Many Hours Do I Need
If you asked the average person how much sleep they need, they would probably answer with something like 8 hours or 6 to 8 hours. There is nothing wrong with the high end of this answer. The problem lies in how we view the consequences of not getting the full 8 or 9 hours of sleep we need.
Most people understand that 8 hours is the optimal amount of sleep, but fail to see how serious missing sleep can be. All sleep is important to our bodys vital functions. However, the last couple hours of a good nights rest are responsible for a whole lot more than we believe. The truth is that those who cut corners on their sleep are doing a whole lot more damage than they realize