• Question: Why do kids need more sleep than adults?

    Asked by lucky1115 to Jeff, Kenzi, Lindsay, Zoe on 20 May 2015.
    • Photo: Jeff Shi

      Jeff Shi answered on 20 May 2015:

      Scientists now think that we all need just as much sleep as you lucky kids get, adults just have less time because of jobs and work, family, chores, and all that! It actually means often times adults are less healthy because they don’t get the right amount of recharge time. Sleep is so important for fighting off sickness, resting your muscles, and processing anything you’ve learned that day!

    • Photo: K. Lindsay Hunter

      K. Lindsay Hunter answered on 21 May 2015:

      While it is true to that sleep is when our bodies repair and detoxify themselves, and most adults (particularly college students) don’t get nearly enough sleep, but I’m going to have to disagree with Jeff. It’s not quite true that kids and adults need the same amount of sleep. The younger you are, the more sleep you need. This is especially true of infants and young kids.

      When we’re born our big brains are still developing and they continue to do this rapidly once we’ve reached the outside world. At the same time, our bodies undergo a massive amount of growth, too, and this requires a LOT of sleep. In fact, by the time you’re two years old, you’ve actually spent more time asleep than you have awake! This extra sleep is extremely important for our mental development, as well as our memory. When we sleep, our brain runs through all of the connections we’ve made during the day and strengthens them. The younger you are, the more of these connections you’re making and you’re doing it faster to get up to speed. Adults continue to have these same requirements, but they’re just not as ramped up as when you’re young.

      All that said, your parents would do well to hit a bedtime ritual close to yours, but good luck getting them to bed on time (they can be worse than kids!)!

      This is one of my favorite discussions of sleep that I heard on the radio in Texas while trying not to fall asleep while driving!: