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Why is it important to get enough sleep?

Without enough sleep we are more likely to have problems with thinking, concentration, memory, reaction time and mood, all of which make it harder to perform daily tasks and increases the risks of mistakes and accidents.

How much sleep should I be getting?

The amount of sleep you should be getting every night depends on your age:

Newborns: at least 14 hours sleep per day which includes multiple sleep periods across the day.

Infants and toddlers: at least 11 to 12 hours per day with day time naps continuing until 2 to 3 years.

Pre-schoolers: approximately 10 to 13 hours per day.

Primary school age: 9 to 11 hours are recommended per day.

Teenagers: approximately 9 to 10 hours sleep per day, but sleep and wake times may start to get later.

Adults: approximately 7 to 9 hours sleep per day.

Older adults: sleep patterns can change for older adults who may need slightly less sleep of 7 to 8 hours per day. Waking in the night can be normal.

What can I do to have a good night's sleep?

  • Have a good routine – go to bed at night and get up in the morning at about the same time each day if possible.
  • Try to avoid sleeping in too much on weekends.
  • Keep moving as much as you can throughout the day, but not in the hours close to bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine, smoking or eating large meals in the four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid using computers, hand-held devices (mobile phones, tablets) or other bright-lit devices for at least one hour prior to bedtime.
  • Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable for sleep – dark and quiet and not too warm or too cold.
  • Don’t watch TV or use computers and other electronic technology in bed.
  • If you tend to think about things in bed, writing a ‘worry list’ before going to bed may help.
  • If you can’t get to sleep, get up and go to another room and read for a while and return to bed when you feel sleepy.
  • Try not to worry about it too much - sleep will come eventually.

For more information read the Sleep Health Foundation good sleep habits or the Shift work fact sheet.

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