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How Much Sleep do I Need?

Developing a healthy sleep pattern is important.

Developing a healthy sleep pattern is important.

One of the best ways to reduce the load on the nervous system and to enhance its function is to develop a regular sleeping pattern. Possibly more than anything else you can do at home, this can enhance healing and supports both mental and physical health. Sleep is the natural enemy of computer and television in all its forms.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has just updated its guidelines which may encourage people to sleep for longer.

The new recommendations are as follows:

  • Babies (0-3 months): 14-17 hrs
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hrs
  • Toddlers (1-2 yrs): 11-14 hrs
  • Pre-school child (3-5 yrs): 10-13 hrs
  • School child (6-13 yrs): 9-11 hrs
  • Teenagers (14-17 yrs): 8-10 hrs
  • Young adults (18-25 yrs): 7-9 hrs
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hrs
  • Older adults (65 yrs+): 7-8 hrs

The NSF has a panel of 18 medical scientists and researchers who reviewed over 300 sleep studies to determine the optimum amount of sleep time for each age group. There is no perfect amount of sleep that would suit all persons in each group however and other factors can influence our need for sleep.

Importantly a recent study of 10,000 teenagers (which is huge) in Norway revealed that the longer teenagers spend using electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, the worse their sleep will be. The evidence is so strong that health watchdogs should overhaul guidelines for electronic device use by teenagers.

Spending more than 4 hours per day looking at a screen resulted in a threefold chance that teenagers would sleep fewer than five hours a night and they were 49% more likely to take more than an hour to fall asleep. A healthy adult will typically take 30 minutes.

All of this relates to the load placed on the central nervous system. We are self regulating and healing organisms, but when this is interfered with we heal less well. Chiropractic care focuses on reducing the load on the nervous system and helps your body to heal where it wasn’t before. Getting sufficient regular sleep will help you heal better and more consistently.

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