Sleep can make you healthier, happier

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Do you get enough sleep?  Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase your likelihood of an accident, decrease productivity, and even stifle your creativity.  The National Sleep Foundation says the average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep each night and new research shows how sleeping more can make you not just healthier, but happier, too.

A study from UC Berkley found couples who were sleep deprived had fewer feelings of appreciation for their partner. Even if only one partner slept poorly, both partners felt less appreciated in the relationship.

And a recent study from Sweden showed sleep deprivation raises levels of molecules associated with brain tissue loss. The molecules are generally only seen in those with brain damage. Something to think about the next time you're up late.

Research from the National Sleep Foundation also found those who exercise regularly sleep substantially better than those who do not. This effect was seen from vigorous exercisers to those whose exercise was simply walking.

Although sleep needs vary from person to person, here are sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:


16 - 18 hours a day
Preschool-aged children11 - 12 hours a day
School-aged childrenAt least 10 hours a day 
Teens9 - 10 hours a day
Adults (including the elderly) 7 - 8 hours a day


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