Professionals suggest that adults receive 7-9 hours of sleep each night to maintain physical and mental health, but sometimes a situation arises where you’re unable to get your full 7-9 hours. Just about everything is okay in moderation, but a vast majority of research has suggested that long-term sleep deprivation can lead to a magnitude of sleep problems that you don’t want on your plate when you become riper in age.

Age-Based Sleep Requirements

As you can probably imagine, your 80-year-old grandpa has slightly different sleep requirements than your 10-month-old nephew. Below are the recommended hours of sleep one should receive based on each age group according to the Sleep Health Journal.

Age Based Sleep Requirements Chart
The number of hours each age range should be sleeping each night

Newborns are from 3-11 months old, infants are about 4-11 months, toddlers are around 1-2 years old, preschoolers are around 3-5, children are 6-13, teens are 14-17, adults are those over 18, and seniors include folks over 65.

Consequences Of 5 Hour Sleep

Everyone has those nights where they stay up way too late and only sleep a few hours, but they’re still able to function (just barely) throughout the following day. It only becomes a problem if night after night you’re only getting five hours of sleep. Don’t believe us? Here are a few of the harmful effects of poor sleep habits which are backed by scientific research.

  1. Heart Conditions – The European Heart Journal published a study in which researchers found those who sleep 5 hours a night are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues, having a stroke, and even early mortality.
  2. Cancer – According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there is a link between constant sleep deprivation (regularly receiving 5 hours of sleep) and higher rates of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. The men and women in the study who received more than 7 hours of rest, on the other hand, had the best mortality rates.
  3. Adult Onset Diabetes – After analyzing 10 different studies having to do with the relationship between sleep and diabetes, researchers concluded that those who regularly slept less than 6-7 hours a night had a higher chance of developing adult-onset diabetes than those who slept 7-8 hours a night.
  4. Depression – Long term sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your mental health, as people with insomnia are ten times more likely to become depressed, and 17 times more likely to have clinical anxiety.
  5. Reduced Sex Drive – In a study by Rachel Leproult, PhD and Eve Van Cauter, PhD at the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago, they found that sleeping 5 hours or less every night reduced sex hormones in young men by 10-15%.
  6. Weight Gain – One study published in medical journal Sleep and Breathing involved the analysis of sleep and weight in over 21,000 adults for three years. From this huge sample size, they were able to determine that the individuals who slept less than five hours a night were more likely to experience weight gain or obesity. Folks who slept the recommended 7-8 hours, however, were healthier and showed lower numbers on the scale.

Helpful Solutions For Poor Sleep

For those of you who are having trouble falling asleep at night and aren’t getting the proper rest you need, it’s important to act immediately and get your regular sleeping habits back on track. If you’re looking for more natural solutions, here are a few helpful tips for inducing sleep.

Set A Bedtime

Kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a bedtime. Going to bed at the same time each night resets your circadian rhythm (our bodies natural alarm clock), so your brain and body naturally begin to wind down once bedtime approaches. If you normally wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for work, make sure you’re in bed by 11:30 at the latest.

Start A Nighttime Routine

You probably have a morning routine that you practice every day which helps wake you up in the morning. Well, the same logic applies around bedtime! A nightly routine where you practice relaxing activities helps ease anxiety and a restless mind/body so it’s easier for you to fall asleep, and remain asleep. Popular nighttime activities include stretching, taking a bath, reading a book, or listening to tranquil sounds like waves crashing against a beach.

Consider Buying A New Bed

Think back on when you purchased the mattress you currently sleep on. If it was before 2010, it’s time for a new bed buddy. An old mattress can develop lumps and sags over time, which can irritate your pressure points and throw your spine out of neutral alignment. Obviously, discomfort and pain is counterproductive for getting a good night’s sleep, and a new mattress can really make a huge difference in the quality of your rest. If you think your mattress is contributing to poor sleep, feel free to check out some of our mattress reviews to get an idea of what you may or may not like — we’ve written over 100!

Stay Away From Electronics Close To Bedtime

Remember the whole circadian rhythm thing we were talking about earlier? The blue light from your electronic device screens like your phone or laptop is enough to disrupt that internal alarm clock, as it suppresses the release of melatonin in your system so your body has a harder time recognizing when it’s bedtime. To be safe, you should unplug your devices and stay off your phone at least an hour or an hour and a half before bed in order to maximize the quality of your sleep.