How much sleep do you need each night
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a world-class study that took more than two years of research to complete — an update to our most-cited guidelines on how much sleep you really need at each age. The panelists participated in a rigorous scientific process that included reviewing over current scientific publications and voting on how much sleep is appropriate throughout the lifespan.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How many hours of sleep do you need?
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How much sleep do we really need?
The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress.
And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. By addressing any sleep problems and making time to get the sleep you need each night, your energy, efficiency, and overall health will go up.
Fact: You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.
Fact: Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by one or two hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift. There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function optimally. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more.
And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap. Think again. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to function well on six hours of sleep a night.
If you give yourself plenty of time for sleep but still have trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep. Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits. You can ensure you get more deep sleep by avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and being woken during the night by noise or light. While improving your overall sleep will increase REM sleep, you can also try sleeping an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, when REM sleep stages are longer.
How is it possible to be sleep deprived without knowing it? Most of the signs of sleep deprivation are much more subtle than falling face first into your dinner plate. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being drunk.
Sleep deprivation has a direct link to overeating and weight gain. There are two hormones in your body that regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave. Rule out medical causes for your sleep problems. A sleep disturbance may be a symptom of a physical or mental health issue , or a side-effect of certain medications.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends. Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many sleep disorders and problems. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity on most days—but not too close to bedtime.
Be smart about what you eat and drink. Get help with stress management. Improve your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and reserve your bed for just sleeping and sex. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid screens, work, and stressful conversations late at night. Postpone worrying. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. National Institutes of Health.
The National Sleep Foundation. Details the most recent recommended sleep times by age group. Berkeley Wellness. Harvard Healthy Sleep.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M. Last updated: June Explore the stages of sleep and how to get on a healthy sleep schedule. Why is sleep so important? Myth: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. Myth: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.
Myth: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends. Fact: Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings. Think six hours of sleep is enough? Get more help. Print PDF.
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How Much Sleep Do You Really Need Each Night?
It is well known that as children get older they need less sleep. Different people have different sleep needs. The advice in the table below is only a guide. You can make a good guess if a person is sleeping enough at night - observe how they act and function during the day.
This is unfortunate because good sleep is just as vital to good health as eating healthy foods or getting enough exercise. Read on to learn why sleep is so important to your health and how much you should be getting each night. Sleep is more than just a time for your body and mind to rest. In fact, while you're asleep, your body is hard at work.
How much sleep do you really need?
Most adults need at least seven or more hours of sleep each night. The National Sleep Foundation NSF and a panel of 18 experts combed through more than studies to identify the ideal amount of time a person needs to sleep according to their age:. Although most men and women need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, their sleep patterns are generally different. Women often sleep more than men, and they experience a lighter sleep that is more easily disrupted. Many women also have undiagnosed sleep disorders. Other causes include sleep disorders, substance abuse, depression, and medical problems like epilepsy and heart disease. Men are also more inclined than women to take sleep for granted and stay up longer than they should. If you believe you need professional advice about your lack of sleep, it's a good idea to maintain a sleep diary for about a week.
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. While sleep needs vary significantly among individuals, consider these general guidelines for different age groups:. Some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, but their performance is likely affected. Research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
The amount of sleep that a healthy individual needs is largely determined by two factors: genetics and age. Genetics plays a role in both the amount of sleep a person needs, as well as his or her preference for waking up early these are the so-called "larks," or morning-type individuals or staying up late these are the "owls," or evening-type people. Although our internal clock is set to approximately 24 hours, if your clock runs faster than 24 hours, you tend to be a "lark" and wake up early; if your clock runs more slowly, you tend to be an "owl" and go to bed later. The majority of healthy adults require between 7.
Assess Your Sleep Needs
How much sleep do we really need, and what happens if we get too little or too much? We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so you've asked an important question. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep for people over age 64 and seven to nine hours for ages 18 to
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
How to Calculate When You Should Go to Sleep