Sleep is a very essential factor in one’s wellbeing. Good sleep is as important to your health as is healthy eating and exercise. As a matter of fact, we all spend 1/3rd of our life in sleeping. Thus, your sleep quality directly impacts your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
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Do You Know How Much Sleep Do You Need Exactly?
With everybody getting busier, it is sleep that gets sacrificed. Even though you may not see any immediate effects, this affects you in the long run.
It is a much-debated topic that how much sleep do you need to optimally lead the best life.
You might know some people who go on with life barely sleeping 2-3 hours in a day. There may be some people who feel groggy and sleep deprived even after having slept 8 hours straight.
Some of you might argue that why spend one third of your life staying in an unconscious state while you can use that time for doing much better things. Well, this is because sleep deprivation could have harmful effects on your body.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
- Fatigue, irritability lack of motivation higher risk of depression
- Decreased sex drive
- Impaired brain activity leading to memory problems and reduced creativity
- Weakened immune system
- Impaired motor skills
- Risk of problems including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers
Having seen the side effects, you now must be aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep. So, how many hours should you sleep? Let’s check out.
How Many Hours Should You Sleep?
There are several factors on which the required sleep depends upon:
Even though both men and women require almost same amount of sleep, studies have found that women often sleep more than men, and they experience a lighter sleep that is more easily disrupted.
Age is a crucial factor in determining your sleep time. The most recommended time is seven to nine hours but this may increase for kids and may reduce for some older people. We shall have a look at the several divisions in the later part of this article.
Even if you get the recommended sleep hours, your sleep quality is what matters. Sleep is divided into several stages and out of these, deep sleep and REM sleep are very important for your health.
The Sleeping Environment
The presence of light can affect your internal biological clock and thereby affecting your sleep. The exposure to light has a bad effect on your sleep. Room temperature also affects your sleeping quality. The noise in the environment cause distraction and stress and thus disturbs your sleep.
Issues such as pain, anxiety, and other medical conditions could also affect your sleep. The discomfort or pain can impact the sleep quality
Medications and Other Substances
Linking to the previous point, the chemicals used in medicine and caffeine affect your sleep quality as well.
Let us look at the sleep recommended for different age groups.
At birth babies usually sleep 16-18 hours, this time decreases as the baby ages gradually. At adolescence, this gets reduced to almost 9 hours. This is the general requirement and this may vary from person to person depending upon the factors that we had seen above.
Let us have a look at the sleep requirements specified by the sleep foundation depending upon the age groups:
- Old adults (age 65+):7–8 hours
- Adults (age 18 – 64):7–9 hours
- Teenagers (age14– 17):8–10 hours
- School children (age 6 – 13):9–11 hours
- Pre-schoolers (age 3 – 5):10–13 hours
- Toddlers (age 1–2):11–14 hours
- Infants (age 4–11 months):12–15 hours
- New-borns (age 0–3 months):14–17 hours
How to Have a Sound Sleep?
Now that you have seen the factors that affect your sleep requirement and the suggested sleep times for different age groups, let’s have a look at the different practices that you can incorporate in your life to have a healthy sleep:
- Practice some relaxing bedtime ritual, it could be meditation, deep breathing, listening to calming music or nothing, just doing nothing for some time.
- Create a sleeping schedule and stick to it, even on weekends. Have fixed sleeping and waking time.
- Exercising daily also has a good impact on your sleep.
- Have a proper environment. Like we saw earlier – light, sound, and temperature are important factors affecting your sleep
- Have a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow even if you have to spend some extra cash on them.
- No Caffeine in the evening. Stop your caffeine intake after 3 pm and reduce your intake of sugar in the evening. These products have a negative effect on your sleep
- Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before sleeping. Further, if it is very important and you have some urgent work, use the night mode that filters blue light.
- Have natural light in your room in the morning. Nothing is better than some sunshine to wake up to and have a rocking day.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed. Eating a heavy meal at night, near to bedtime causes your digestive system to be working overtime. This impacts your sleep pattern.
- Practice being worry free. If you are feeling anxious about something, write it down and comfort yourself thinking that you shall look into the matter the next day.
- Read the factors that affect the sleep requirement of a person and find out which factors affect you and how.
- Then read the sleep requirement for your age group and find out the approximate amount of sleep you require.
- Now start experimenting daily by increasing and decreasing your sleeping time to find out what is the optimum amount of sleep you require to be your best.
- Don’t forget to ensure the steps that are to be practiced to have a great sleep.
Even though the sleep requirement varies from person to person, it goes without saying that sleep is one of the most important factors contributing to our overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Go through this content whenever you have any queries regarding your sleep pattern.
Have a great sleep every night.