On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can be dangerous—for example, you are more likely to be in a car crash if you drive when you are drowsy.How Much Sleep Is Enough?Sleep needs vary from person to person, and they change throughout the life cycle. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns, on the other hand, sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 11 and 12 hours a day. School-aged children and teens need at least 10 hours of sleep each night.Some people believe that adults need less sleep as they get older. But there is no evidence to show that older people can get by with less sleep than younger people. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stage of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.Why Sleep Is Good for You—and Skimping on It Isn’tDoes it really matter if you get enough sleep? Abso-lutely! Not only does the quantity of your sleep matter, but the quality of your sleep is important as well. People whose sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep. In other words, how well rested you are and how well you function the next day depend on your total sleep time and how much of the various stages of sleep you get each night.
Crash in BedNot on the RoadMost people are aware of the hazards of drunk driving. But did you know that driving while drowsy can be just as deadly? Like alcohol, a lack of sleep makes it harder to react quickly enough to a suddenly braking car, a sharp curve in the road, or other potentially dangerous situations.Watch for these warning signs that you might be too sleepy to drive safely:nnnTrouble keeping your eyes open or focusedContinual yawningInability to recall driving the past few milesIf you feel sleepy while driving, pull off the road to a safe place and take a nap for 15–20 minutes.Tips To Avoid Drowsy DrivingnBe well rested before hitting the road.Keep in mind that if you skimp on sleep for several nights in a row, it might take more than one night of good sleep to be well rested and alert.nnnnnAvoid driving between midnight and 7 a.m.This period of time is when we are naturally the least alert and most sleepy.Don’t drive alone.A companion who can keep you engaged in conversation might help you stay awake while driving.Schedule frequent breaks on long road trips.Don’t drink alcohol.Don’t count on caffeine.Although drinking a cola or coffee might help keep you awake for a short time, it won’t overcome extreme sleepiness.Remember, if you are short on sleep, stay out of the driver’s seat!Performance:We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night’s sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problemsolving.