Do you have a friend who says they can function on four to six hours of sleep? If so, you might have wondered if this is true. Can people really get by on so little sleep? How much sleep do humans need to function optimally? The short answer is seven to nine hours a night. People who get less than seven hours of sleep a night for even one day report more mood problems and difficulty concentrating than those who get a solid seven to nine hours. However, the long answer is much more complex than that and varies depending on a number of factors including age, pregnancy, sleep deprivation and quality of sleep. Before you jump right into finding the number of hours of sleep you need, however, there are a few simple questions you need to ask yourself in order to make sure that you get the correct amount of sleep tailored to your needs.
Questions to ask Yourself
Before you set about finding the number of hours of sleep that you need in a night, start by asking yourself these questions. They will provide a baseline which will then give you somewhere to start from. How many hours does it take you in order to feel productive? Can you manage without caffeine on seven hours or does it take you nine before you feel truly awake? Do you have any health problems such as heart disease or being overweight? Do you have sleep difficulties such as insomnia? Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day or are you frequently sleepy while driving? These five simple questions will help you form a rough idea of how much sleep you actually need.
Once you have a baseline for how much sleep you actually need, then you can see where your age fits in. If you are a younger adult, ages 18-64, experts recommend that you get somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night if you are healthy. However, if you are over sixty-four, the experts recommend 7-8 hours per night for healthy individuals.
If you are a pregnant woman, you need more sleep. Your body is undergoing very important changes and your baby is growing. Neither of these things happen very well if your sleep is compromised. Be mindful when planning your time. It is very important to remember to get enough sleep to function efficiently and to be prepared that you will need more than usual.
Sleep Deprivation and Quality of Sleep
If you have been sleeping poorly or missing out on sleep for a long time, it is quite likely you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprived people and those whose sleep are frequently interrupted need more sleep than normal. They may sleep up to eleven hours as opposed to the seven to nine that most adults need to function. However, as these people start getting better sleep, their need will lessen till it is back within normal levels.
It is very important to get the necessary amount of sleep. If you do, your efficiency and health will increase, and that is something that everyone wants.