Everyday for about 8 or so hours the human body is forced to in to a session of inactivity called sleep. Scientifically, normal sleep is described as naturally recurring event that is characterized by low or complete loss of consciousness. During normal sleep, the activity of senses and all voluntary muscles is usually suspended.
Unlike in wakefulness, there is reduced ability to respond to all kind of stimuli. Normal sleep is distinguished from coma by the fact that it is easily reversible. Sleep is affected and is dependent on many factors such as genetic, age, sex, physiological among many other factors.
Normal Sleep: Duration
It is virtually impossible to come up with a number that defines enough sleeping hours for all. For example, it is normal for a newly born baby to sleep for up to 22 hour. In some cultures, sleeping hours begin at sunset (6.30 pm) and end at 7 am.
In most modern societies which have better sources of light, normal sleep hours begin at around 10 pm and end at 6 or 7 am. Today, the schedule for the next day is single most influential factor that determines normal sleep hours. For this reason, sleep hours for weekdays are usually shorter than for weekend.
With the information in above two paragraphs in mind, it is generally accepted normal sleep should take about 6 to 8 hours. Insomnia is used to describe short sleeping hours or difficulty in sleeping. Hypersomnia describes abnormally long sleeping hours or difficulty in waking up.
Normal Sleep by Age
- Newborns up to 2 months sleep for 12 to 18 hours.
- Infants of up to 11 months sleep for 14 to 18 hours.
- Toddlers up to 3 years sleep for 12 to 14 hours.
- Elementary school kids up to 5 years sleep for 11 to 13 hours.
- School-age kids up to 10 years sleep for 10 to 11 hours.
- Adolescents of up to 17 years sleep for 8.5 to 9.25 hours.
- Adults 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
- Pregnant women sleep for more than 8 hours.
From the above list, it is clear that normal sleep hours tend to go down the subjects get/become aware of more activities to be done during the day. In fact, normal sleep hours throughout history have fallen as nations become more civilized and industrialized.
Lack of enough normal sleep: Effects
- Sleep refreshes the body cell and thus people who sleep for long hours live long.
- Poor sleep lower your body’s immunity levels.
- Insomnia is closely related with depression.
- Productivity and alertness are affected by poor sleep.
- Wounds take longer to heal in people affected by insomnia
As you already know, the normal sleep activities include reduced sensory activity and muscle paralysis. But what are the abnormal activities that occur during sleep?
- Night terrors.
- Sleep talking.
Normal Sleep: Tips
- Ensure that you are exposed to enough sunlight during the day.
- The bedroom should be as dark as possible.
- The bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only.
- Get a mattress that conforms to your body pattern.
- Get treatment for all underlying conditions that may affect sleep.
- You need to avoid caffeinated drinks are they stimulate the body making it difficult to sleep.