According to multiple studies, including ones conducted by the National Institutes of Health, adults average less than seven hours of sleep a night. This average shows that adults are getting about an hour or more less sleep than they need to function properly during the daytime. Adults between the ages of twenty-six and sixty-four need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night and adults over sixty-five need seven to eight hours a night. This shows that if you are receiving less than the needed amount of sleep, you will not be as active in your daily schedule and will not be as healthy and productive as those receiving the required amount of sleep.
Adults are not the only ones that need to get a designated amount of sleep to function properly. Researchers deem that almost every age group needs more than eight hours of sleep, beginning with children between birth and three months old who should sleep an average of fourteen to seventeen hours (per day, as naps are added in as well throughout the day for children of this age).
In addition to changes among age demographics, it has been proven that men and women do not always share the same sleep patterns. Women, supposedly, sleep a little bit longer than men (on average), but their sleep is usually more disrupted than men’s. Women tend to wake up groggier and feel as though they received less sleep than men. It is theorized that this is caused by not entering into a deep enough sleep. Women tend to be lighter sleepers and are often woken up by the slightest noises.
Research shows that if you are receiving less than the allotted amount of time of sleep, you are most likely feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. It is impossible for a person to stay fully alert throughout the day without napping or dozing off when receiving less than the required time. Effects of sleep deprivation include, but are not limited to, lack of motivation, irritability, weight gain, depression, and increased risk of multiple health problems. Sleep deprivation can cause many of the same effects that alcohol causes when a person is inebriated, and can become very dangerous when motor skills and decision making are jeopardized.