You Might Not Need As Much Sleep As You Think
- Fitbit researchers compared how much people slept with their scores on Think Fast, an app Fitbit offers on its smartwatches.
- Fitbit researchers find that people who slept an average of 5 hours and 50 minutes to 6 hours and 30 minutes per night performed better on the test than people who slept more or less.
- In both men and women over age 40, reducing the amount of time spent awake at night increases cognitive performance by 10 percent.
You might not need as much sleep as you think, but you might need better sleep.
Using sleep data from its wearable devices, Fitbit researchers compared them to users’ scores on Think Fast, an app Fitbit offers on its smartwatches. They found that people who slept an average of 5 hours and 50 minutes to 6 hours and 30 minutes per night performed better on the test than people who slept more or less. These amounts are shorter than what doctors typically advise. Public health officials and physicians have long recommended adults sleep for at least seven hours, if not more, each night. They’ve become increasingly vocal about this as people work longer hours and spend more time in front of screens before bed.
Fitbit research scientist Jonathan Charlesworth said these guidelines are based on how much time people spend in bed as opposed to how much time people actually sleep. However, he said even Fitbit’s numbers are just averages, and the numbers can vary per person, especially based on factors like age and gender.
What Is Good Sleep
In addition to quantity, the quality of sleep you get is important. Tossing and turning in bed for 12 hours wont be as good for you as seven uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Quality sleep needs to be of adequate duration, restorative so you feel energized in the morning, consolidated and at appropriate times, St-Onge said. That means you need several continuous hours of restful sleep each night.
Ideally you want to go through multiple cycles of all five sleep stages. The stages start with feeling drowsy and advance through deeper sleep until you reach rapid eye movement or REM sleep when your brain is the most active and dreaming occurs. Its during this stage that learning and memory are affected.
Interaction Of Mental Health Conditions
Many mental health conditions dont arise in isolation instead, co-occurring conditions may influence one another as well as a persons sleep.
For example, it is not uncommon for people to experience both depression and anxiety, and people with both conditions have been found to have worse sleep than people with just depression or anxiety. These conditions also influence other important aspects of well-being, such as perception of pain, a process that may also influence the risk of sleeping problems.
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How Much Sleep Is Too Much
Generally, experts recommend adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but this can vary based on individual needs. There will also be times when youll need more sleep than usual, such as when youre suffering from jet lag, experiencing an abnormal amount of stress, or recovering from an illness.
Youll know youre getting enough sleep when you wake up feeling refreshed and restored. However, if youre regularly sleeping more than nine or 10 hours per night, and you still feel tired during the day, thats a sign youre oversleeping. Around 8% to 9% of people oversleep, with women being more likely to do so than men.
Everyone Needs 8 Hours
As with many aspects of human biology, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep. Overall, research suggests that for healthy young adults and adults with normal sleep, 79 hours is an appropriate amount.
The story gets a little more complicated, though. The amount of sleep we need each day varies throughout our lives:
- newborns need 1417 hours
- infants need 1215 hours
- toddlers need 1114 hours
- preschoolers need 1013 hours
- school-aged children need 911 hours
- teenagers need 810 hours
- adults need 79 hours
- older adults need 78 hours
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Impaired Brain Functioning And Mental Health
Sleep plays an important role in the brain, as the brain clears out waste byproducts, balances neurotransmitters and processes memories at rest. At both short and long extremes, rest may have an effect on mood and mental health.
CognitionUsing data from the Lumosity brain-training platform, researchers found that cognitive performance on three different games all peaked when people sleptaround seven hours,Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceworsening with more or less rest. Other studies have also foundmemory impairmentsVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceandVerified SourceResearch GateNetwork service for scientific researchers that makes it easy for experts to find and share papers.View sourcewith longer sleep.
Degenerative DiseasesOther research indicates that getting too little or too much sleep may be tied to increased Alzheimers disease risk factors and a largeSpanish studyVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourcefound that long sleepers may be at increased risk of developing dementia.
Depression and Mental HealthOversleeping is considered a potential symptom of depression. While many people with depression report insomnia, about 15% tend to oversleep.
Tips For Getting A Healthy Amount Of Sleep
If youre worried that youre sleeping too much, talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out whats causing you to oversleep and provide recommendations for getting a healthier amount of sleep.
In the meantime, you can work on improving your sleep hygiene. Start by following a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. This includes going to bed around the same time every day, and waking up when your alarm sounds the first time. Avoid napping during the day, especially for periods longer than 30 minutes.
You may also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, and incorporate more healthy foods into your diet. Exercise in the morning can help you wake up. A regular exercise routine also promotes better sleep.
At night, make your bedroom as dark, cool, and quiet as you can. Then, in the morning, use light strategically to wake yourself up. You may find it beneficial to use a dawn simulator as an alarm clock and open window curtains to let in the sunlight.
A good nights sleep is beneficial for your health, but a long nights sleep isnt necessarily better. Consider what may be contributing to your need to oversleep, and consult your doctor for their advice.
Higher Heart Disease Risk
Using information from the large National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , researchers linked both short and long sleep with a higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. The study found that people sleeping more than eight hours per night were twice as likely to haveanginaVerified SourceMayo ClinicRanked #1 hospital by U.S. News & World Report and one of the most trusted medical institutions in the world. The staff is committed to integrated patient care, education, and research.View sourcechest pain caused by reduced blood flow) and 10% more likely to have coronary heart disease.
Analysis of the data from theNurses’ Health Study,Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourcewhich involved over 71,000 middle-aged women, also found connections between sleep length and heart health. Compared to normal eight-hour sleepers, women sleeping nine to 11 hours per night were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease.
How Does Room Temperature Impact Quality Of Sleep
Yes, it does, but the best room temperature differs for each person. For many people, a room temperature of about 65 to 72 degrees F is considered ideal for the best sleep. Higher room temperatures tend to make falling asleep more challenging. Higher temperatures also contribute to more wakefulness, which negatively impacts sleep satisfaction and the feeling that one had adequate rest.
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The Sleep You Get Is Equal To The Sleep You Give
Getting enough sleep is up to you. How much are you willing to give yourself? Just enough to allow yourself to stagger through life? Or the full amount you need to walk with calm purpose? Keep track of your sleep habits. If you have trouble sleeping night after night, or if you feel tired day after day, you could have a sleep disorder. Talk to your primary care physician or a sleep specialist to get the support you need. Whatever the case may be, committing to healthy sleep over the long term can help reduce your anxiety.
Now, are you interested to know why the doctor tells his patients to make their bed every morning after a good night’s sleep?
It’s to demonstrate how healthy sleep makes it easier to give ourselves the little acts of kindness that can change our day and in effect, our lives.
How about giving yourself a BIG act of kindness? Sleep!
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How Much Sleep You Need Depends On Several Things
Everyone has unique needs and preferences, and individual sleep requirements are no different.
Nevertheless, the amount of sleep you need per night is primarily determined by your age.
Official recommendations for sleep duration are broken down by age group (
- Older adults : 78 hours
- Adults : 79 hours
- Teenagers : 810 hours
- School children : 911 hours
- Preschoolers : 1013 hours
- Toddlers : 1114 hours
- Infants : 1215 hours
- Newborns : 1417 hours
However, some people might need more or less sleep than is generally recommended, depending on the following factors.
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A Sleep Journal Can Help
Keeping a sleep journal and sharing it with your doctor can be a big help in getting the treatment you need. In a sleep journal, record:
- When you go to bed
- An estimate of when you fall asleep
- Times that you wake up in the night
- The quality of your sleep
- How you feel when you get out of bed
- How you feel during the day
This information can aid your doctor in diagnosing your condition and getting you the help you need for improved health and renewed energy.
What Are Some Common Sleep Problems
- Sleep deprivation: Some children dont get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because they arent getting enough naptime or aren’t getting to bed early enough.
- : Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if they feel upset that you are not there. Try an extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open when you put them to bed.
- Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.
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Sleep Is An Instant Mood Improver
Did you know 25% of Indians over the age of 15 have difficulties sleeping on a regular basis, and 2 million Indians suffer from insomnia? According to a new research, people with insomnia release more stress chemicals than others. This causes their bodies to become hyper-aroused, making it difficult for them to relax. Inability to sleep leads to increased tension, which can have serious consequences.
Sleep deprivation can cause depression, which can lead to insomnia. More and better-quality sleep, on the other hand, can help you feel elated.
Why Don’t Teens Get Enough Sleep
Teens often got a bad rap for staying up late, oversleeping for school, and falling asleep in class. But teen sleep patterns are different from those of adults or younger kids.
During the teen years, the body’s rhythm is reset, telling a person to fall asleep later and wake up later. This change is likely due to the brain hormone , which is released later at night for teens than it is for kids and adults. This can make it harder for teens to fall asleep early.
Changes in the body’s circadian rhythm coincide with a busy time in life. For most teens, the pressure to do well in school is more intense and it’s harder to get by without studying hard. And teens have other time demands everything from sports and other extracurricular activities to working a part-time job. Using electronics including phones, tablets, and computers also makes it hard to fall sleep. Many teens are up late texting friends, playing games, and watching videos.
Early school start times also play a role in lost sleep. Teens who fall asleep after midnight still have to get up early for school, meaning that they might squeeze in only 6 or 7 hours, or less, of sleep a night. A few hours of missed sleep a night may not seem like a big deal, but it can create a noticeable sleep deficit over time.
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Teenage Sleep Deprivation Other Issues To Consider
If lack of sleep is still a problem despite your best efforts, suggestions include:
- Assess your sleep hygiene. For example, factors that may be interfering with your quality of sleep include a noisy bedroom, a lumpy mattress or the habit of lying awake and worrying.
- Consider learning a relaxation technique to help you wind down in readiness for sleep.
- Avoid having any food or drink that contains caffeine after dinnertime. This includes coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate.
- Avoid recreational drugs as they can cause you to have broken and poor quality sleep.
- See your GP if self-help techniques dont increase your nightly sleep quota.
Your Sleep Needs Will Change Over The Years
How much sleep you need to stay healthy, alert, and active depends on your age and varies from person to person. Most adults need at least seven or more hours of sleep each night.
The National Sleep Foundation and a panel of 18 experts combed through more than 300 studies to identify the ideal amount of time a person needs to sleep according to their age:
- Newborns : 14 to 17 hours of sleep
- Infants : 12 to 15 hours of sleep
- Toddlers : 11 to 14 hours of sleep
- Preschoolers : 10 to 13 hours of sleep
- School-aged children : 9 to 11 hours of sleep
- Teenagers : 8 to 10 hours of sleep
- Young adults : 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- Adults : 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- Older adults : 7 to 8 hours of sleep
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Sleep Experts Close In On The Optimal Night’s Sleep
How much sleep do you really need?
Experts generally recommend seven to nine hours a night for healthy adults. Sleep scientists say new guidelines are needed to take into account an abundance of recent research in the field and to reflect that Americans are on average sleeping less than they did in the past.
Several sleep studies have found that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleepnot eight, as was long believedwhen it comes to certain cognitive and health markers, although many doctors question that conclusion.
Other recent research has shown that skimping on a full night’s sleep, even by 20 minutes, impairs performance and memory the next day. And getting too much sleepnot just too little of itis associated with health problems including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and with higher rates of death, studies show.
“The lowest mortality and morbidity is with seven hours,” said Shawn Youngstedt, a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University Phoenix. “Eight hours or more has consistently been shown to be hazardous,” says Dr. Youngstedt, who researches the effects of oversleeping.
Is Six Hours Of Sleep Enough
In this fast-paced life that we live, many people only get 6 hours of sleep because of their busy schedule. We realize that there are not enough hours in the day for us to be able to do all of the work that we have, and that we often compromise our sleeping hours just to get things done. Some do take a nap in between tasks to help restore their low energy levels, but its never enough it seems to recoup the insufficient sleep that we get every night.
Some people think that they are sleeping well, only to find that they barely got seven hours in bed. You may argue that the number of hours doesnt really matter because there are some who can function with 6 hours of sleep alone. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who dont realize the impact of having a good nights sleep, let alone the symptoms that accompany sleep deprivation.
For those who wonder, is 6 hours of sleep enough?, the answer to this is it depends. Although some people do well on 6 hours of sleep, many of them do not feel any better compared to those getting up to 8 hours of rest. They might not even realize how bad they feel. The problem lies in the fact that their body thinks that this already is the new normal for them, but little do they know that the side effects of being deprived of your much-needed sleep are already being felt in the form of mood swings, low energy levels, daytime sleepiness, and weight gain too just to name a few.
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