Most people don’t receive enough sleep. However, many people also don’t realize how many hours you should sleep every night. By learning how much sleep you need, you can be on your way to living a healthier lifestyle. Learn all about healthy sleep habits and what they can do for you.
Why Do You Need Sleep?
Sleep is essential to your health. If you don’t receive enough sleep, your physical and mental health will suffer1. In addition to experiencing lower productivity, you might also experience moodiness, a compromised immune system, and weight gain. Even your brain and heart health could suffer.
When you sleep, your body doesn’t turn off. In fact, quite the opposite happens. When you go into REM sleep, your brain takes on the role of maintenance. It does what it can to keep your body in good condition, preparing you for the next day.
For this reason, a lack of sleep comes with a long list of side effects. Without restoring your body, you risk losing creativity, communication skills, and learnability. You could experience a mental breakdown.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of research available on sleep. This means that science can tell us exactly how many hours you should sleep every night. Additionally, science can tell us some ways in which you can get better quality sleep2.
How Many Hours You Should Sleep Every Night
It is completely possible to function on a couple hours of sleep, but if you want your body to work at its best you need to get 'enough' sleep.
But how much is enough sleep? According to the National Institutes of Health, most people receive less than seven hours of sleep on a nightly basis3. Although you might think that’s enough to be well-rested, you’re wrong. Six or seven hours of sleep each night is not ideal for your body.
Typically, an individual needs between seven and eight hours of sleep every night to function optimally. That number varies depending on an individual’s needs. However, few people can function well on under seven hours of sleep.
As you age from child to adult, your sleep needs slightly decrease. For example. A newborn needs between 14 and 17 hours of sleep, on average. Meanwhile, a one to two-year-old needs between 11 and 14 hours of sleep. Toddlers between the ages of three and five need 10 to 13 hours of sleep.
Individuals between the ages of six and 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep. However, teens only need between eight and ten hours. Everyone from the age 18 and up needs at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Finding Your Requirements
Of course, every individual has different needs. There is a gene in some individuals that allows them to work well on six hours of sleep. However, that gene is rare. Less than 3% of individuals have the gene.
It’s unlikely that you can function well with six hours of sleep. However, you can determine exactly how much sleep you need. If you want to determine your sleep requirements, you can keep a sleep journal.
When you use a sleep journal, you can track your sleep. Then, you can learn how much sleep you need to be at your best.
Start by recording how much sleep you receive in a night. At the end of the day, make some notes on how you felt. Did you feel energetic all day? How alert were you? If you were energetic and alert all day, you received enough sleep.
Getting More Sleep
Now that you know how many hours you should sleep every night, you need to work towards reaching that goal. By doing so, you can be more productive, more balanced, and more social.
Follow these tips and you can improve your sleep:
1. Find Out Why You Don’t Sleep Well
There are many individuals who experience sleep troubles. Often, the cause of those troubles is medical. For example, you could have insomnia or restless leg syndrome. Either condition could result in a lack of sleep.
If you suspect a medical issue, contact your doctor. They might order a sleep study, which could help you get to the bottom of your sleep troubles. Once you resolve your condition, you can start receiving the sleep you need.
2. Get On A Regular Schedule
One of the keys to receiving enough sleep is to get on a regular sleep schedule. Your body thrives on routine. If you establish a sleep schedule, you can fall asleep quicker.
Instead of staying up late on the weekends, go to bed at the same time as you do during the week. The same is true of waking up. Avoid sleeping in late on your days off. If you set up a sleep schedule, your biological clock can help you sleep better.
3. Exercise Regularly
Most individuals realize that exercise is good for their health. However, did you realize that exercise is also good for your sleep? Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of sleep disorders.
Although you should exercise, you should avoid doing it before bed. If possible, exercise an hour or more before you plan on sleeping.
4. Change Your Habits
If you have bad habits, they could affect your sleep. For instance, drinking caffeine or alcohol can make it difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, eating sugary foods can impact your sleep. You can cut out your bad habits to get more sleep every night.
Another habit that affects sleep is using your bed for something other than sleep. If you watch television from your bed, you might find it difficult to get to sleep.
5. Have A Nightly Routine
If you have a healthy nightly routine, you can improve your sleep. Limit your screen time before bed, and find something that relaxes you. For instance, you can take a warm bath or read a book.
It takes time to develop healthy sleep habits. But when you do, you can experience all of the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
1. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss, 10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss
2. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips, Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep
3. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf, Your Guide To Sleep