Many articles have said “we all need 8 hours sleep at night”
If we take a look at the UCSD study, the 2010 paper indicates that the secret to a long life lies in getting just enough sleep, the question arises; what is just enough sleep? And it ends up being about 6.5 hours per night.
The study looks at 1.1 million people’s sleep patterns over the course of 6 years, tracking the average amount of sleep each subject had alongside their longevity. There were two major discoveries, viz:
- Sleeping as little as 5 hours per night can be better for you than sleeping 8.
- Insomnia is better for you than taking sleeping pills, long-term health-wise.
A different view...
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to do well on six hours of sleep a night. This gene, however, is very rare, appearing in less than 3% of the population. For the other 97% of us, six hours doesn’t come close to cutting it.
How much sleep do we need then?
Before answering this question, know this:
- The body can adjust to different sleep schedules and can adapt to new regimes with time. You can train your body to do almost anything, and sleeping regimen is not excluded.
- According to “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, The National Institutes of Health”, 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.
- Just because you’re able to operate on six or seven hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.
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.
|Average Sleep Needs by Age|
|Age||Hours Needed||May be appropriate|
|Newborn to 3 months old||14 – 17 hrs||11 – 19 hrs|
|4 to 11 months old||12 – 15 hrs||10 – 18 hrs|
|1 to 2 years old||11 – 14 hrs||9 – 16 hrs|
|3 to 5 years old||10 – 13 hrs||8 – 14 hrs|
|6 to 13 years old||9 – 11 hrs||7 – 12 hrs|
|14 to 17 years old||8 – 10 hrs||7 – 11 hrs|
|Young adults (18 to 25 years old)||7 – 9 hrs||6 – 11 hrs|
|Adults (26 to 64 years old)||7 – 9 hrs||6 – 10 hrs|
|Older adults (65+)||7 – 8 hrs||5 – 9 hrs|
|Source: National Sleep Foundation|
Things that can affect our sleep duration:
- Early morning functions
- late sleep time
- emotional state
- personal issues and pursuits
- individual differences
- Social life
- sleep disorders
- many others
Check your sleep with this…
The quantity and quality of your sleep directly influences your mental and physical health, emotions, immune system heart and brain health, productivity, creativity, vitality, and even your weight like I said in previous article, also affects the quality of your waking life (depending on alarm, addiction to snooze button etc).
Without enough sleep for your body, you will malfunction in one of more of the mentioned areas, sooner or later. So the cheat is this…KNOW YOUR BODY.
I personally sleep longer in the holidays than during academic sessions, but generally I have difficulty sleeping more than 6 hours at a go and I do well with that, face my academic activities, hit the gym, photo sessions and or any other functions effectively.
Further topics on sleep deprivation, REM sleep, Sleep debt and how to get quality sleep will be discussed in upcoming articles, watch out
A little advice…
Until you can make money while you sleep, (and probably even after), please cut down on your sleep however you can.
Questions, comments and discussion suggestions are appreciated, thank you…