Lack of sleep has detrimental effects upon people of all ages, with the age range of each individual creating different problems from the lack of sleep. In children, sleep deprivation can lead to behavioral problems, a difficulty focusing and learning in school, and negative effects on the immune system. For children, says the experts who conducted this study, “Chronic tiredness makes it harder to cope and process what’s going on around you.” This study was conducted by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, and shows how not sleeping affects all ages in various ways. The data goes on to say that a lack of sleep affects teenagers worse than children, on average. Only about 15 percent of the teenage population in the United States gets the recommended amount of sleep needed for proper daily activities and good health. Sleep is when the body restores itself, when muscles and other tissues repair, hormones that control growth are released, and when energy rejuvenates and memories solidify. Without the proper amount of sleep each night, each of these areas is heavily affected in teenagers and young adults.

Though it is clear that not getting enough sleep affects all ages, for adults, sleep loss is a more serious problem. This sleeplessness accumulates over the years, and can contribute to several chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and obesity. Sleep-related disorders – insomnia or sleep apnea – are more prevalent in adults. Medications that many adults take are also known to affect sleep patterns. With all of this information, the National Sleep Foundation released the following guidelines for hours of sleep we should get throughout our lives:

  • 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