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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Sleep Basics

Do you get enough sleep? Sleep is important as it regulates mood and helps learning and memory functions. Getting enough sleep will help you learn a new skill, stay on task or be productive. Although individual needs may vary, adults typically need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night; teenagers 9 hours; children, depending on age, 10-14 hours; infants 16 hours/day. It may also be a critical factor in your health, weight and energy level. Understanding how lack of sleep affects your health can allow you to make healthier decisions for you and your family

Internet Resources

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: Sleep Education
This website is designed for patients and members of the public who are seeking dependable information related to sleep, sleep disorders, treatments and services. The goal of this site is to present accurate, scientific information in a concise manner that is easy to understand.

American Academy of Sleep: Sleep Evaulation
Use these questionnaires to detect excessive sleepiness, defined as sleepiness that occurs in a situation when an individual would usually be expected to be awake and alert, because it is associated with morbidity and increased mortality, and can be treated in many cases.

National Institutes of Health: Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep
The National Institutes of Health is the nation’s medical research agency in funding research, but also provides patient information to the public.

National Sleep Foundation: Sleep Topics
The National Sleep Foundation is a charitable, educational, and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy.


  • The Harvard Medical School Guide to a good night’s sleep. Epstein LJ, Mardon S. 2007
  • Five good minutes in the evening: 100 mindful practices to help you unwind from the day & make the most of your night. Brantley J, Millstine W. 2006
  • Good night: the sleep doctor’s 4-week program to better sleep and better health. Breus M. 2006
  • Snooze or lose! 10 “No-War” ways to improve your teen’s sleep habits. Emsellem HA. 2006
  • Solve your child’s sleep problems. Ferber R. 2006

All references below are available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library.

  • Sleep. The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Vol. 5. 4th ed, p3947-3950. Ed Lerner KL and Lerner BW. 2008.
  • Sleep Disorders. Davidson T, Frey R. The Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence, Vol. 4, p1680-1685. 2006.


  • “Napping may not be such a no-no. Research is showing that the daytime snooze may have benefits and not interfere with nighttime sleep.” Harvard Health Letter. 35(1):1-2. 2009 Nov.
  • “Insomnia: restoring restful sleep.” Harvard Men’s Health Watch. 13(7):4-8. 2009 Feb.
  • “Practicing tai chi may help seniors get a better night’s sleep.” Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource. 13 (1):3. 2009 Jan.
  • “What’s in a nap?” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health After 50. 20(9):7. 2008 Nov.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateJanuary 3, 2012