In the majority of people who do not get enough sleep regularly, a short 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon, when there is a natural mid-afternoon “dip” in alertness, can be refreshing and help recover some lost sleep. Sleeping in for an hour or 2 on weekends can have a similar catch-up effect. Naps however […]

The serious short and long term consequences of sleep deprivation reflect the important restorative functions of sleep. When we do not get enough sleep, our memory, concentration, alertness and mood are affected. Daytime sleepiness leads to poor school or work performance and can result in serious accidents. Left untreated, long term sleep disturbances decrease quality […]

Sleep needs vary with age. A newborn may need as much as 14-17 hours spread throughout day, an infant may sleep 12-15 hours with most of sleep consolidated to the nocturnal sleep period, while toddlers may require 11-14 hours or more. Primary school going children should get 9-11 hours of sleep, while teenagers should get […]

Good sleepers generally have regular sleep-wake schedules and sleep at least 6-7 hours a night. A good sleeper feels refreshed upon awakening and is able to maintain alertness throughout the day, without the need for an afternoon nap or sleeping in on weekends.

Normal sleep consists of cycles of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep alternating with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep consists of light sleep and deep sleep. REM sleep is also known as “dream” sleep. The function of sleep is believed to be restorative, a time of rest and repair for the body. Normal adults […]

The reason why humans need sleep is not well understood although the most probable one appears to be that sleep is needed for rest, repair and restoration of the mind and body. It is also likely that memory and learning are consolidated during sleep. Much of what we do know comes from sleep deprivation experiments. […]