Sleep is essential for health. Certain types of growth and learning take place during sleep and toxins are removed from the fluid that circulates within the brain. Lack of sleep can increase risk of accidents, and decrease ability to concentrate. Naps can help but excessive napping for adults may make it more difficult to get to bed at a regular time. Infants need the most sleep, as much as 16 hours out of the 24 for younger babies, by age two toddlers need 10 hours of sleep per day. Teenagers also may benefit from ten hours of sleep. The myelin coating that speeds up signals between brain cells or nerve cells throughout the body primarily are made during sleep. Toddlers and teenagers are both busily learning and increasing myelin connections between the cells of the nervous system.
Cranky? Set a regular bedtime and wake-time and turn off electric devices in the hours prior to sleep to help unwind. The bright light can make it more difficult to get to sleep. It also helps to use blackout curtains and cover all devices that have tiny electric lights or a lit up digital alarm clock as the light at night can interfere with our circadian rhythm which helps signal the myelin formation or other tasks that occur within the body at night such as melatonin production. Getting some bright sunshine during the day or full spectrum light during winter months or when working a night shift also can help the body's day/night circadian control systems. Avoiding caffeine several hours prior to bedtime may also help as it can interfere with a chemical receptor that signals tiredness. (Sleep & Health)
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.