We have all been there. A stressful week at school, important meetings and deadlines at work, a busy
week with the family, or perhaps exciting travel plans disrupting your sleep schedule.

The NIH recommends that adults sleep for seven-eight hours per night, yet more often than not, sleep is the first
thing to go in order to sustain our busy schedules. Sleep has many important physical and psychological
benefits. In fact, regular, consistent sleep decreases the amount of stress hormones in circulation,
improves our immune system, maintains cardiovascular health, lowers the risk of obesity, improves
mood, and consolidates memories.

Even with all of these vital health benefits, we often deprive ourselves of sleep to accommodate our busy schedules. While our many demands during the week cost us valuable hours of sleep, it would seem intuitive then that we try to make up for it on the weekends when we have more time. However, a recent study out of the University of Colorado funded by NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) debunked this myth. They found that a research group who were deprived of sleep (maximum five hours per night) during the week but were allowed to sleep
in on the weekends fell victim to the similar consequences of a group who faced consistent deprivation.
In particular, they experienced weight gain and a decrease in insulin sensitivity

This was also the case for adolescents. A 2016 study evaluated 56 adolescents, ages 15-19 years old who
studied in top high schools. Participants went through intermittent nights of sleep deprivation and
subsequent cognitive testing. Researchers found that the group who had their sleep restricted
demonstrated deterioration in sustained attention, working memory and executive functioning, an
increase in a subjective feeling of sleepiness, and decreased positive mood. The effects of decreased
attention and increased sleepiness remained the same even following two recovery nights

Dr. Rachel Dawkins at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital highlighted the important benefits of
consistent sleep for children and adolescents. These included:
 Improved attention
 Behavior regulation
 Improved learning
 Improved memory
 Better overall mental and physical health

She noted that lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and depression. In order to avoid
falling into a state of sleep deprivation, the recommended amount of sleep per age group is as follows:
 One year of age and younger: 12-16 hours
 1-2 years of age: 11-14 hours
 3-5 years of age: 10-13 hours
 6-12 years of age: 9-12 hours
 13-18 years of age: 8-10 hours
( https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/The-importance-of-sleep-for-kids)