If you have a busy lifestyle, cutting back on sleep might seem like the only way to meet the countless demands of your day. Perhaps you have to go to school, attend game practice and still make time for study and a little entertainment. With adults, there is work, gym training, buying groceries or managing a business. Indeed, most people these days have so many things to do and so they sacrifice their sleep time in order to get as much as they can out of each day.
However, just like eating and exercising, adequate rest is vital for good health. Not getting enough sleep will have a negative effect on your productivity, mental sharpness, energy levels, emotional balance, workout performance and even weight. In this article we’ll be taking a detailed look at sleep and discussing exactly how much sleep you need for good health.
Average Sleep Duration Recommendation
According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy adults need 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Growing teens and children need even more sleep to support their rapid mental and physical development. Infants and toddlers requiring between 9 and 10 hours of sleep at night along with 2-3 more hours of nap time during the day. School going children should aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep every night.
Factors Affecting The Required Amount Of Sleep
Despite the average sleep recommendations above, there is no “one-size fits all” formula when it comes to sleeping durations. Some people simply need more sleep than others or less than average to maintain optimal health.
Some of the other factors that can affect how many hours of sleep you need include genetics, gender, the amount of sleep you’ve had on previous days and your overall health condition. Pregnancy can also affect a woman’s sleep cycles with many pregnant women having an increased requirement for sleep.
The Importance Of Sleep Quality
Getting adequate rest is not just about the number of hours you spend in bed. It’s the quality of your sleep that’s really important. Some factors that may affect the quality of your sleep include:
- Awakening due to environmental factors such as noise or too much light when sleeping
- Pain or an underlying illness
- Prescription medications and substances that interfere with sleep urges such as caffeine, nicotine, antidepressants, and beta-blockers
- Sleeping at the wrong time of the day
- Stress and anxiety
Finding Out How Much Sleep You Need
Did you know that losing even an hour of sleep affects your ability to think properly and respond quickly? Since sleep requirements vary from person to person, you may be suffering from sleep deprivation and not even know it. The good news is that you can find out how much sleep you need by focusing on how you feel after waking up and your level of alertness during the day after getting varying amounts of sleep on different days. Remember to control your environment so that your quality of sleep is not affected.
When getting enough sleep, you should feel refreshed upon waking up besides being energetic and alert all day. If you experience frequent daytime drowsiness or need coffee to get you through the day, even after increasing the amount of “quality sleep”, consult your doctor. Your physician may identify any underlying medical problems that may be interfering with your sleep quality and help you make some lifestyle changes.
There aren’t many better feelings than waking up feeling refreshed and knowing you’ve had a perfect night’s sleep. I hope this article helps you discover how much sleep you need and leads to you feeling much fresher and alert every single day.