Sleep is one of the most essential needs for good health. As some doctors would say, they know one of the secrets of medicine, but they won’t tell everybody about it. The secret is that, in general, every person gets a little better after a good night’s rest. However, when a person becomes too busy with so many tasks, sleep is one of the first things neglected or easily set aside.

If only everyone knew that sleep is as important to a person’s health as healthy food and enough physical exercise and activities. Mental health professionals from Prairie Health and other institutions all recommend that people should get enough restful sleep, especially at night. This article will try to take you through a discussion of how many hours of sleep are needed for proper mental health.

Sleep Repairs Body And Restores Health

When a person sleeps, something happens to his mind and body other than just resting. It’s not just about losing consciousness and falling asleep, so your mind can forget about what’s happening and for your body to get some rest. The truth is that your mind goes on and remains active even when you’re asleep. You can check and other similar sites if you want to know more about what happens to your mind and body while you’re asleep.

As you lose your awake consciousness and fall asleep, your body gets down to work. It looks for the cells and muscles that have worn out during your waking hours. It finds out the places where you suffered bruises, cuts, or wounds. Your mind then sends instructions so that your body can repair those worn-out, bruised, cut, or wounded muscles or tissues. It also sends out instructions to your digestive system to remove toxins that have accumulated in your body.

How Many Hours Are Needed

Every person has a unique set of needs. Some people want to sleep longer hours, while others like to stay awake. Some people prefer staying up late at night and sleeping until the latter part of the morning. Meanwhile, some people like to sleep early and wake up early and spend most of their day doing things they need to do. There are also people—mostly those who work in healthcare institutions—who have to manage sleep deprivation and stay up for three days in a row regardless of their sleeping preferences.

Sleep experts and other healthcare clinicians would agree, though, that the amount of sleep each person needs at night is determined in large part by that person’s age. Here are the official recommendations of sleeping experts and healthcare practitioners on the number of hours that each person should take every day:

  • Newborn (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
  • Infants (4–12 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (one to two years): 11 to 14 hours, including short naps
  • Preschool kids (three to five years): 10 to 13 hours, including short naps
  • Children of school age (six to 13 years): nine to 11 hours
  • Adolescents and teens (14 to 17 years): eight to 10 hours
  • Adults (18 to 64 years): seven to nine hours
  • Senior adults (more than 65 years old): seven to eight hours

However, these are just recommendations that may not apply to some. Other factors could affect the number of sleeping hours recommended for each person. These factors include:

  • Genetic makeup. Genetic makeup can also affect the number of sleeping hours a person would need every day. You can’t do anything to change your genetic makeup, but sometimes it changes on its own in a process known as a genetic mutation. There are genetic mutations that will affect how many hours you need to sleep every day, the time of day that you’d need to sleep, and how your body responds whenever you’ve been deprived of sleep.
  • Sleep quality. Aside from the number of hours spent sleeping, the quality of a person’s sleep also determines how long a person should sleep every day. If you’re not able to get quality deep and restful sleep, even if you sleep for long hours, you’d still feel tired when you wake up. If you sleep well, though, even just a few hours is enough. If you’re not able to sleep well at night, this may have negative consequences on your physical and mental health such as sleep disorders and mental health disorders.

Lack Of Sleep And Mental Disorders Are Linked

There is a growing consensus among health research experts and mental health practitioners that sleeping disorders are closely linked to the diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. A vast majority of mental health experts suggest that there’s a strong positive correlation between sleep problems and the onset of mental health conditions or symptoms of mental disorders. In many recent studies, it has been found that patients with psychiatric disorders are also experiencing sleep disturbances.

Mental health experts and clinicians are one in saying that getting good amounts of sleep is essential to keeping and maintaining sound mental health. Experts who have performed many research studies on sleeping patterns say that there’s a large body of empirical evidence that establishes the link between lack of sleep and the risk of mental illness or at least the onset of symptoms or conditions.

There was a recent study in the United Kingdom that unequivocally establish that people who have mental health conditions also tended to suffer from an inability to sleep well. They attached wrist monitors to the study participants and found out that the people who kept moving even at night were also the same people who had mental conditions. They concluded that there is a positive and direct correlation between the quality of sleep a person gets every day and the risk a person would suffer from mental health conditions or illnesses.

Sleep Well For Your Mental Wellness

Researchers and clinicians have already established conclusively that the number of hours, as well as quality of sleep a person gets every day, is directly linked to mental health and wellness. They’ve found out that lack of sleep and mental conditions are mutual causes of each other; that is, one is the cause of the other. Therefore, they recommend that people should get adequate hours of restful sleep every day.

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