There are many factors that determine how much sleep a person needs. It is recommended that infants get between 14 to 15 hours of sleep each day. Teenagers need about eight and a half to nine and a half hours a day and the majority of adults require between seven and nine hours a day. Women that are pregnant will often need to sleep several more hours each day for at least the first three months of the pregnancy.
The number of hours of sleep a person needs will also depend on whether or not they have been deprived of sleep in the past few days. A person that does not get enough sleep may enter what is called sleep debt. This is similar to overdrawing your account at the bank. If you go too long without getting enough sleep, your body will eventually demand that you sleep enough to repay this debt. Our bodies do not adapt to not getting the sleep that is needed. While some people will get used to a schedule that deprives them of sleep, their reaction time, judgment, and other functions will be impaired.
Those who do not get enough sleep may become depressed, have memory problems, have a weakened immune system, and an increased perception of pain. There have been many studies completed that show that sleep deprivation can become dangerous. Those who are deprived of sleep show similarities to those who are intoxicated.
Overall, sleep is extremely important for your health overall. Adults should aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night and children should get nine hours or more in order to function at your best. Sleep is when your body repairs itself and it is important to make sure that you are providing it with the time that it needs.