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Isn't sleep lovely?  When you've had a good sleep you feel wonderful.  But an interrupted night or poor quality sleep leaves you feeling fragile and worn.  Our sleep patterns change as we age and what we once considered a great night’s sleep may now feel slightly lacking.  So here’s our quick guide to what you need to know about sleep for your age.

New-born Babies & Sleep

Growing, learning and keeping mum and dad on the go uses up lots of energy.  No wonder a new-born baby sleeps for eight hours a night and another eight hours through the day, only waking up for meals or when you make a much needed cup of tea.  But by three months old they only need 4-5 hours sleep during the day and thankfully, 10-11 hours a night.  By a year old a couple of hours during the day is sufficient along with a solid 11 hours at night.  That’s around thirteen and a half hours in every twenty four….brilliant! For more info click here

Toddlers & Young Children

The Sleep Council says that toddlers need about 12 hours sleep a night.  Time we all know that they use to dream up new ways to run rings around any adult in the vicinity as well as resting from all of the learning, exploring and growing they are doing at this vital time.  By the time they reach the 3-6 year age group and their days get busier with nurseries and schools (yippee) this drops to 10-12 hours a night, dropping again to 10-11 hours of sleep a night for 7-12 year olds.  Visit the Sleep Council Website for some great info.

Teenagers & Sleep

Any parent of a teenager will tell you that a teenager’s ability to sleep throughout an entire day is, quite frankly, admirable!  And whilst most teenagers need around 8-10 hours’ sleep some can need up to 14 hours to function properly.  During the immense physical changes adolescence brings, biological sleep patterns shift toward going to bed later and therefore waking up later, turning most teens into natural night owls.  So sleeping until noon is natural, if not annoying.  

For a teenager, it's also often really hard to fall asleep before 11pm and equally hard to wake up early.  To tackle this many schools around the world are changing school start-times for teenagers, starting the working day later and seeing some impressive results.  Although how the adults working in the schools are finding this we do not know.  Try helping them to adjust to ‘normal’ sleeping patterns as they head off to Uni by encouraging good sleep habits and to mitigate some of the difficulties of sharing rooms and houses treat them to a good quality light-blocking eye mask and some decent earplugs; it’s quite probable that they will appreciate them more than that new set of pans you desperately want them to use. 

Quality Sleep for Adults

By the time we become adults 8 hours of good quality sleep is perfect but we easily miss out, not just because the babies are waking us up, the toddlers are running wild whenever we turn our backs and the teenagers are, well-being teenagers – and aren’t we jealous of their snoozing habits?  Modern life constantly stimulates us and despite making sure children have bedtime routines we tend to ignore the fact that we too could do with strict bedtimes to keep our Circadian rhythms ticking along nicely.  

Seriously, a regular bedtime can work wonders for sleep quality in adults.  Your body quickly learns when bedtime will be and will start to prepare your body for sleep just like it does when it comes to waking up and you find yourself awake just before the alarm wakes you up – could that noise be even more irritating?  So if you are struggling, make your bedroom a haven with nice bedding, gentle lighting and soft colour scheme.  Set yourself a bedtime and go with it, this is YOUR time for relaxation!  Save time on your evening beauty routine with simple additions such as Silk Pillowcases for overnight hair care.  Steer clear of any light-emitting gadgets for the hour before sleep – yes we have banned all screens from our bedrooms much to all of our partner’s dismays - and treat yourself to a gentle bedtime routine just like when you were younger.  And if you can’t persuade someone to read you a bedtime story then an audiobook works just as well.

The Menopause & Sleep 

As in adolescence, the menopause can have a major impact on sleep patterns and quality.  Night sweats are a common sleep issue for menopausal women.  You go to sleep lovely and cool then wake up on fire from the inside out. You feel so tired by 3pm you could cheerfully take a nap under your desk - which is great if you are not a snorer - then you are still wide awake at 11pm.

Be kind to yourself at this time.  You may find your usual bedtime routine no longer works for you so experiment with different ones and make use of the excellent sleep aids now available.  Make your bed your retreat just like when you were a teen, but possibly with more style, a place you enjoy retiring to at night.  If night sweats/chills are an issue invest in some naturally temperature controlling bedding…so much quieter than a fan and as well as not irritating your sleeping partner you will feel truly pampered every time you slip into bed.  Silk bedding will also help protect your skin and hair during this time, helping to reduce dryness, irritation and damage whilst you snooze.  Oh and never underestimate the usefulness and the sheer comforting feeling you can get from a hot water bottle filled with either hot or cool water.

Sleeping In Older Age

If your granny goes to bed at nine in the evening and gets up at four in the morning, she's not unusual.  As we get older and become less active we need less sleep, sometimes 7 hours, sometimes as few as 5.  Just like teenagers those of 75 plus years find their sleeping habits changing greatly…There is a cliché about reliving your youth but we won’t go there.

It can also become more of a challenge to fall asleep in the first place as we age, hence the connection between older people, cocoa and going to bed.  Don’t laugh, having that warm milky drink every evening, especially the very well-known malted one, is actually an excellent way to prepare for bed because like any routine we follow prior to nodding off, our bodies quickly learn that the cocoa is the trigger for sleep.  And it is quite delicious too.

Some older people wake up in the night and find it hard to get back to sleep, others suffer from insomnia itself, which happens because the body makes less of the sleep chemical melatonin – the one which makes us sleep as we age.  Sleeping in the dark can help this as it helps to keep melatonin levels raised but if you prefer the security of leaving a gentle night light on then a good light blocking eye mask, which you can easily pop off if needed, can help.  So can anything containing Lavender which has been shown in numerous studies to ease tension whilst promoting relaxation and sleep.

We are the Sleep Experts

We love sleep and when we say it’s what we do, we really do mean it!  From Silk Pillowcases and Hair Turbans for beauty sleep, award-winning light blocking Eye Masks for great sleep and Lavender Eye Pillows for deep relaxation.  We really do have everything you need to improve sleep and make the night time hours work better for you, whatever your age.

Sweet Dreams xx

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