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Sleep Expert Details the Price of Sleep Loss at Every Age

Thanks to numerous studies, surveys and countless hours of research, we know that America overall could use more sleep. Thankfully, Daylight Savings has come to an end we all can make good on collecting an extra hour of snooze.

According to the experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, there are serious consequences at every age that stems from sleep deprivation. Dr. Anessa Das, the assistant director of the Sleep Program and sleep specialist at the medical center, was able to further explain in the YouTube video posted above and in their press release.

“We are a sleep-deprived society, and we often pay for that lack of sleep in ways we may not realize,” says Das.  “Depending on your age, it can affect everything from your complexion to your weight to your heart, and can lead to some very serious medical issues.”

For children, a lack of sleep leads to behavior problems. They become more hyperactive, irritable and have trouble staying focused and learning at school. Sleep loss also weakens their immune system, making them sick more often with more missed days of school.

During those teenage years, children automatically face the challenge of not getting enough shut-eye thanks to school start times that aren’t in sync with their circadian rhythm, or natural body clock. Their bodies want to stay up late and push back wake up times. Das says that only 15% of teenagers are getting their recommended amount of sleep each night.

As we enter adulthood, the risk of developing serious health conditions increases with chronic sleep loss. Too little sleep has been linked to obesity, heart disease, depression, hypertension and an earlier death. During this phase of our life, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, are also more likely to occur. For women, menopause causes night sweats, leading to insomnia due to the imbalance of hormones. And for men, their enlarged prostate causes more trips to the bathroom at night and those sleep disruptions do take their toll. Adults should also beware that certain medications can also disrupt sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, here’s how much sleep every member of your family needs each night:

Infants: up to 16 hours total, including naps
Toddlers (1-3 yrs): 12-14 hours, including naps
Preschool (3-5 yrs): 11-13 hours, most do not nap after age 5
School-age (5-12 yrs): 10-11 hours
Teens: 8.5-9.5 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours

And remember, you are not a robot! Practice great sleep hygiene by allowing your body the opportunity to wind down and fully soak up the benefits of high-quality snooze. To tips on how to fall asleep faster this season, click here!

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