One in seven Canadians suffers from insomnia — and our brains could be paying the price. “At night, your brain reorganizes and fine-tunes itself. It’s as though it is updating software every night,” says Richard Horner, Canada Research Chair in sleep and respiratory neurobiology.
“Your brain is always going to work; the question is, is it working as well as it could? People aren’t as sharp and are less able to grasp new things if they haven’t slept well.” The amount of shut-eye you should get varies by age. To see how much sleep you (and your brain) need tonight, see our handy chart below.
Sleep guidelines for every age
The U.S. National Sleep Foundation offers guidelines for how much sleep you need each night. Not getting enough? Try sipping chamomile tea and winding down at least an hour before lights out.
Why naps are important for babies
There’s good reason babies sleep so much: A study published in January 2015 found that 30-minute naps may help increase your baby’s memory. Researchers from the University of Sheffield in the U.K. found that six- and 12-month-old infants retained memories and learned new actions best when they napped for at least 30 minutes. The study also discovered that babies remembered their new behaviours better if they learned them just before their nap.
This article was originally published in June 2015 and updated in September 2017.