Ideally, adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. However, it is estimated that at least 35% of adults are not getting enough sleep.
Research in the Journal Sleephttps://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/40/10/zsx135/4056064, even goes so far as to suggest that both short (<6.5 hours) and long (≥9.5 hours) sleep were associated with higher mortality. That is, people who sleep for less than 6.5 hours a night, or more than 9.5 hours a night, are likely to die sooner than those who sleep the recommended 7-9 hours.
People who sleep for less than 6.5 hours a night, or more than 9.5 hours a night, are likely to die sooner than those who sleep the recommended 7-9 hours.
There are many reasons why people are not getting enough sleep. Stress and anxiety mean that it can be harder to get to sleep and stay asleep. Lifestyle factors, such as having electronic devices like phones, TVs and tablets in the bedroom can keep you awake. Also, social jet-lag, where people go to bed late and sleep-in at the weekend, but then go to bed and get up significantly earlier in the working week, can play havoc with sleep. This discrepancy in going to bed and waking times at the weekend compared to the working week is like giving yourself jet-lag, resulting in poorer sleep.
If you are not regularly getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, you could try comparing your working week and weekend bedtime routines and look to go to bed and get up at regular times throughout the week.
If you are struggling with your sleep and would like to get some help then please contact Trouble Sleeping.
Recent research published in the April journal of Sleep(https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy018) from the University of Warwick has show that children who do not get enough sleep are twice as likely to be overweight than children who do get enough sleep.
They looked at different age groups (infants (0 to <3 years); early childhood (3 to <9 years); middle childhood (9 to <12 years), and adolescents (12 to 18 years). The results showed that “short sleep duration is a risk factor or marker of the development of obesity in infants, children, and adolescents“. Specifically they found that:
In babies less than 1 year old who got less than 12 hours sleep, there was a 40% increased risk of weight gain.
For children between 3-9 who got less than 9-10 hours sleep, there was a 57% increased risk of weight gain.
For children between 9-13 who slept less than 9 hours per night, there was double the risk of increased weight.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in America recommends different sleep durations for different age groups. The recommendations, as stated on their website, are as follows:
newborn (0–3 months), 14–17 hours sleep per night
infant (4–11 months) 12–15 hours sleep per night
toddler (1–2 years), 11–14 hours sleep per night
preschool-age (3–5 years), 10–13 hours sleep per night
school-age (6–13 years), 9–11 hours sleep per night
teenage (14–17 years), 8–10 hours sleep per night
The study also reported the results of brain imaging studies of people with poor sleep compared to those who sleep well. The study showed that sleep loss increased brain activity in areas of the brain which make you want to eat:
When you do not get enough sleep, your brain makes you feel more hungry than you would have been if you had slept well.
I am Dr Lindsay Browning and I received my Doctorate in insomnia from The University of Oxford where I studied how worry and rumination affect sleep. I set up Trouble Sleeping in 2006 to help people overcome these issues as well as other sleeping problems.
As a mother, I have used my expertise to help my own children when they have had trouble sleeping – as everyone experiences from time to time. The real problems arise when a period of poor sleep (such as following an illness, work or exam stress, a bereavement, etc.) becomes permanent.
Whilst I was living in Singapore and America, where I taught Anatomy and Physiology at University, I have seen how insomnia is an issue that affects everyone across the world – men, women and children from all walks of life. It is an issue that many people think that they just have to live with. But you do not.
I offer a service here where you can get expert tailored advice specific to your particular sleeping difficulties, for both adults and children. Also, corporate advice is offered too.
In addition, I hope that this website can become a forum for information and news about sleep for anyone interested in sleep.
When you have a stressful life event it is perfectly normal to sleep poorly for a few nights. However, problems arise when this short term insomnia turns into long term (chronic) insomnia. This is when you may need to seek help.
Limit your use of computers, tablets and phones before going to bed, and do not have the devices next to your bed in the night.
Try to limit the amount of time you spend in bed not sleeping – instead try to leave the bed when you are awake in the night.
Try to get up at the same time every morning, and go to bed at the same time every night.
Increase the amount of exercise you do during the daytime.
Don’t drink alcohol to help you get to sleep, as it disrupts your sleep later in the night.
Limit your intake of caffeine – the stimulant can stay in your system for up to 8 hours.
If you feel that you would like some expert help, look at our services for adults and children.