How Much Sleep Do We Need Daily?

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The 8-hours-of-sleep rule is one of the most popular myths surrounding us. Undeniably, getting enough sleep at night is essential for optimal health and well-being. However, the 8-hour-of-sleep rule only captures part of the picture of sleep. This myth persists because we tend to think in terms of "required" hours of sleep rather than "optimal" hours of sleep. Required hours refer to the number of hours an individual needs to be awake to function at their best. Optimal hours, however, refer to when an individual feels most refreshed and energetic after sleeping. This is where we should be focusing our attention!

Well, then, how much sleep do you really need at night to have a restful and recharged morning? That depends on a range of factors — especially those along your age, sex, lifestyle, and body composition. While some people may need less than 7 hours of sleep each night, others might need more. Since the answer is less than straightforward, this article will explore how much sleep a person requires and how to get the perfect amount every night.

Breaking the idea down

Sleep is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps the body restore and heal itself, preventing stress and improving focus. According to the National Sleep Foundation, all adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night simply because our bodies cannot function without it. Sleep is an amazing way to refresh and reset the brain and body. Not only do our brains produce natural chemicals that promote relaxation and happiness when we sleep, but sleep also helps us learn new information, remember what we've learned, improve our memory, and protect our brains from damage. But just like we need sleep to perform optimally, oversleeping at night can cause fatigue and restlessness, especially if continued on a long-term basis.

Most adult people need 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night to function mentally and physically optimally, while children usually need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night. However, some people require more or less sleep. For example, someone extremely active during the day may need only six hours of sleep per night. On the other hand, someone with a lot of stress may need nine or ten hours of sleep per night. The amount of sleep someone needs varies from person to person and changes over time.

Age is a big determiner. Teenagers generally need more sleep than adults because they're growing and developing rapidly. Their bodies also work harder at night, so they need more time to recover from daytime activities. On the other hand, adults don't usually need as much sleep as teenagers because their body's growth has stopped or slowed down by this stage in life. Gender also affects how much sleep we need each night. Women typically require 8 hours of sleep, while men require about 10 hours. This difference is mainly due to differences in hormonal levels throughout the day and night for women versus men. 

How can I get more sleep daily?

If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, consider adjusting your sleep habits until you find what works best. A few things can help. 

  • Assess how much sleep you’re getting
  • Try and switch up your bedtime routine, either postponing or preponing your daily sleeping time
  • Avoid watching television or working on computer screens near bedtime
  • Read books to de-stress and relax at night instead
  • Reduce your caffeine intake, especially during the later hours of the day

Another way to get more restful REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is by using a noise machine that plays white noise, which can help drown out distracting noises and can lead to deeper sleep. If all else fails and you still struggle to get enough shut-eye each night, talk to your doctor about whether there's any medical reason why you're not getting the rest you need. Something such as stress or anxiety disorders could also be the culprit!

What’s the final math?

Like most people, you need seven to eight hours of sleep every night. The bad news is that many of us are getting less than that. In fact, according to a study published in the journal “Sleep”, nearly two-thirds of adults get less than 6 hours. What consequences does this have? Well, many. According to the National Sleep Foundation, chronic lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and depression. And let's not forget about our mental health – inadequate sleep has also been linked with increased anxiety and stress levels.

Health benefits of a night of good sleep

Good sleep has various health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases, improving mental clarity and productivity, enhancing physical health, and boosting mood. Here are the most common health benefits of good sleep:

1) Reduced risk of developing chronic diseases: A good night's sleep is essential for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. 

2) Improved mental clarity and productivity: It’s also crucial to your mental clarity and productivity. This is likely because a good night's sleep helps reduce stress and allows you to focus better on your tasks.

3) Enhanced physical health: It can also help improve your physical health! Studies have found that people who get enough sleep tend to have stronger immune systems and healthier bodies overall. A good night’s sleep gives you the energy to exercise properly and eat healthy foods.

4) Boosted mood: Good sleep at night improves and boosts mood.

It’s not always the easiest to remain attuned to a sleeping cycle that is routine! Sometimes life happens; other times it's parties that keep us up all night and then ruin the next few days of sleeping. However, always remembering that sleep health is crucial to every part of our physical and psychological health is one of the first steps in making getting proper sleep our top priority!

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