You don’t want just sleep, you want healthy, normal sleep. This “normal” sleep is when you fall asleep easily, do not fully wake up during the night, do not wake up too early, and feel refreshed in the morning when you’re up for the day. The position you sleep in, what type of bed you feel most comfortable in, and what time you fall asleep can be unique to you. However, regularly having difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night is not normal or healthy for people of any age. In order to know for sure whether your sleep is normal and good for you, let’s answer a few more detailed questions.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Normal sleep for a newborn baby is not going to be the same as normal sleep for a middle schooler. Your sleep needs change throughout your life. Young children and older people sleep more lightly than adults and teenagers. Not so coincidentally, both these age groups also need more sleep than others. For children between the ages of six and 12, a night’s sleep of nine to twelve hours is quite normal. Teenagers aged 13 to 18 years should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours. Adults need between seven or eight hours a night. Interestingly, senior citizens need about the same amount of sleep as young adults, about nine hours of sleep per night. Clearly, the answer to “How much sleep do I need?” is that it depends on how old you are!
What does a Normal Sleep Pattern Look Like?
We are only now understanding your sleep cycles at night. Up until about 60 years ago, people, including scientists, believed that as a person drifted off to sleep, his or her brain and body would go into “shutdown” mode, entering a passive state. What modern-day researchers have since learned is that sleep is a whole lot more complicated than that! In fact, while you're getting your nightly sleep, your brain goes through a normal sleep cycle.
There are four different stages of sleep; each is important and each is unique. These are Stage 1, Stage 2, and Deep Sleep, and REM sleep. A normal sleep pattern doesn’t occur just once; it repeats itself as you sleep throughout the night. If you get a full night of sleep, you will go through each stage up to five times.
So, what does a normal sleep pattern look like? Within a few minutes or less of nodding off, you are in a very light stage of sleep. You're still somewhat alert and can be easily woken. In Stage 2, you are fully asleep and not able to hear noises around you or jump awake suddenly any longer. Stage 3 is the beginning of Deep Sleep. This Deep Sleep is extremely important to a person’s overall health, because it’s during this sleep stage in which the body naturally heals itself. Last, is REM sleep. This last stage of sleep plays an important role because this is when your brain consolidates and processes information from the passing day in order to store it in your long-term memory.
Is Daytime Napping Okay?
How many teens do you know of that nap? Probably a lot of them! This is because early school start times and late night conversions with friends make getting nine to twelve hours a night impossible. They make up for it with a nap when they come home from school. That’s okay! A short nap, about 20 to 30 minutes, is a great way to stop your body from feeling the effects of being sleep deprived.
Napping isn’t just for kids, though. In a recent study, researchers say napping two or three times a week is good for your heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a third of adults in the United States don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Any medical professional will tell you that the importance of getting a good night’s rest each and every day cannot be overstated. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need at night, a short daytime nap is just fine! In fact, it can be considered a part of a healthy, normal sleep routine.
If you have any more sleep questions or now realize you need to make getting normal sleep a priority in your life, City Mattress is here to help! Stop into any City Mattress location and speak with a Sleep Expert about which sleep essentials can turn your bedroom into a slumber oasis. Do you need a new, high-quality mattress? Would a sleeper sofa be the perfect spot for an afternoon nap? Perhaps a few cooling gel pillows are all you need to stay asleep all night long. We’ve got it all!