How many hours of sleep do you really need?
No matter who you are sleep is essential for your health.
However, when life gets busy, it can be one of the first things to get neglected or sacrificed.
This is unfortunate because getting enough sleep is as vital to good health as eating healthy foods or getting enough exercise.
This article will help you understand the benefits of getting good quality sleep and how many hours per night are optimal.
Sleep is the foundation for good health
Our body functions like a machine and a machine require some rest to provide more quality work. If you put too much pressure, it will not only lack efficiency but will also stop one day working at all. Our body also requires rest so that it can continue to function systematically. Our body requires sleep not only for rest but also to rebuild muscles and other things as well. Your body tends to remain active while you are asleep.
So, what does our body do when we are asleep?
Throughout the day your body functions to keep you going which makes it worn out of muscles. While you are asleep your body rebuilds it and not only this it also removes toxins in brains that accumulate when you are awake. Sleep aids in keeping your memories intact.
Our sleeping pattern also reflects our mood and our emotions. Having a lack of sleep could affect your emotions. Generally, sleep deprivation can have a major effect on your emotional response to negative feelings by 60 %. (1Trusted Source).
Not only this sleep deprivation has can have a major impact on your body’s regular essential functions like appetite control, your immune system, metabolism, and body weight.
Our sleeping patterns also affect in maintaining our circadian rhythm or internal clock. Our body is designed based on an inner biological clock that runs on a 24-hour schedule that is crucial in controlling the sleep-wake cycle. Sleep deprivation can have a serious effect on your metabolism, inflammation, and how you respond to stress.
The sleep cycle should be in a systematic format. If you don’t sleep on proper time or not sleeping according to the requirement of the body can disrupt the internal clock and how it functions. Exposure to too much light can also lead to issue with your internal clock.
Sleeping should be considered a high priority as it has several health benefits. The quality of sleep is important. No matter how much you are sleeping; you might not get a good result as the quality of sleep should match the satisfactory conditions.
However, we can’t define a good quality sleep as everybody has their way of getting satisfactory sleep.
Some aspects that can help you to understand your quality sleep is by knowing how long does it take you to sleep how often you wake up during the night, how rested you feel the next day, and how much time you spend in different stages of sleep.
Not prioritizing it has negative health consequences
We, humans, tend to ignore our sleep schedule and take it for granted. Nearly one-third of adults and two-thirds of high school students are sleep-deprived. (2Trusted Source).
Sleep is crucial to keep our body’s inner clockwork systematically. Not getting sleep doesn’t only make a person lethargic but has other consequences as well.
Sleep deprivation can lead to poor decision-making, be less creative, and have an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. Sleep deprivation can affect cognitive performance.
As per a study, it is revealed having a sleep duration of only 5 hours daily for 4 consecutive days can have a severe effect on your mental performance, same as having a blood alcohol content of 0.06 (3Trusted Source).
When a person doesn’t get enough sleep then it can affect their behavior resulting in negative moods, less productivity, and unseemly behavior at work. Sleep deprivation can also cause the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Sleep deprivation can lead to Alzheimer’s disease as when your body is in rest mode it clears waste from the brain.
How much sleep you need depends on several things?
Every human is different, thus have different preferences and unique needs, and with no different individual sleep requirement.
Nevertheless, the amount of sleep you need per night depends on your age.
Official recommendations for sleep duration are broken down by age group (4Trusted Source):
- Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours
- Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
- School children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours
- Preschoolers (3–5 years): 10–13 hours (including naps)
- Toddlers (1–2 years): 11–14 hours (including naps)
- Infants (4–12 months): 12–15 hours (including naps)
- Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
However, some individual’s requirement varies depending on the following factors.
Your whole body’s function depends on your genetics. Therefore, the amount of sleep you get is also dependent on your genetics.
Some genetic mutations can affect the hours of sleep, what time of day you prefer to sleep, and how you respond to sleep deprivation. For instance, people with one specific genetic mutation only require 6 hours of sleep rest require about 8 hours of sleep on average. (5Trusted Source)
People with certain other genetic mutations have a more negative impact because of sleep deprivation or experience deeper sleep. Nevertheless, there is no way of changing your genetic makeup or knowing the kind of mutations.
Do you know the quality of Sleep?
When it comes to sleep, having quality sleep is more important than the amount of sleep as the quality affects the amount of sleep you require.
Having poor sleep quality will result in being lethargic and will never be enough. However, good quality sleep will help you to manage well even if the amount of sleep you get is less.
According to some studies, it is revealed that having a short sleep duration and poor sleep quality can result in many adverse sleep-related effects (6Trusted Source)
Therefore, the quality of sleep should be given more attention.
Your sleep quality can get affected by several negative sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Seeking professional help is necessary if you are not having a proper quality sleep.
Tips for better sleep
Since quality is important, try to ensure you are having a sound sleep each night.
Below are a few listed tips to improve your sleep:
- Follow a regular schedule. Having a proper sleep schedule helps in regulating your inner clock. If you have an irregular sleep schedule then you are most likely to have poor sleep quality and duration.
- Create a calming bedtime routine. when you relax and have a calm mind you tend to sleep better. Having a relaxing before-bed routine can improve your sleep quality. Listening to music also helps in improving sleeping patterns.
- Create a comfortable environment. light often distracts us when we are sleeping. So, sleeping in a quiet, dark room at a comfortable temperature can get you some quality sleep. Having a noisy environment before bed or being too active and too warm will cause poor sleep.
- Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. According to some studies caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine use will lead to poorer sleep quality. Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening is ideal for good sleep.
- Reduce your use of electronics. Using your cellphones or electronics excessively can cause poor sleep quality. The brightness can also affect your sleep. (7Trusted Source).
- Be more active. Some studies revealed being active will help you to have a good quality sleep.
- Practice meditation. Meditation and relaxation training is great for your mind and body and might improve sleep quality and brain function, although the research isn’t clear.
Sleep and hormones
Various hormone functions and their release affect sleep or circadian rhythm and vice versa.
Getting the required sleep is important for regulating several hormones, including:
- estrogen and progesterone
- hunger hormones, like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin
- thyroid hormones
- growth hormone
Tips to get the sleep you need to regulate your hormones
Hormone regulation is a major essential requirement for every bodily process. Some things that will surely help you in getting the most of your Zzz’s are:
- Always aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Train your body in a manner that helps you sleep and wake up at a regular time.
- When you have poor sleep then your insulin levels get disrupted. Therefore, limit sugar intake the next day to balance it.
- Avoiding accumulating sleep debt by missing sleep. All those binge-watching just isn’t worth it.
- Keeping electronics, artificial light, and phones out of the bedroom is a great option to have a night of quality sleep.
- Having a well-ventilated and keeping your sleep space cool helps in sleeping better. You can even try cooling pillows, mattresses, and sheets.
- Investing in a quality mattress will make you more comfortable when you sleep.
- Create a wind-down routine to prepare your body for rest.
- Keeping a track of your total sleep time with a wearable will aid in having a proper daily schedule.
- Use a sleep mask or blackout curtains to block out light.
- Try a white noise machine to cancel out disruptive sounds.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
When to talk with a professional
Seeking a sleep expert should be considered when you’re regularly getting less-than-stellar sleep, waking groggy, or feeling fatigued throughout the day.
Professional help will guide you to develop skills to get a good night’s rest, as well as determine whether you may have a sleep disorder.
Some option includes:
- cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
- relaxation techniques and meditation
- lifestyle changes
- prescription medications
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