How much sleep is enough?

“I get by easy on four hours of sleep.”

“Tell you what, I need at least nine hours or I’m gone for the day.”

“I don’t think I’ve slept more than six hours in the last decade.”

You’ve probably heard some variation of those statements at some point. Everyone seems to have a different opinion when it comes to how much sleep you need. And if you’ve tried changing your own sleep habits based on the advice of a friend, chances are it might not have worked that well.

This is because everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Just because your sister’s husband can shut his eyes at 2am and be bright and chirpy at 7, it doesn’t mean you can too.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how much sleep you probably need, how you can tell if you’re getting enough of it, and what things you can change to make sure you do.

How much sleep do you need?

The best broad indicator of how much sleep someone needs is their age. The National Sleep Foundation performed an extensive study into the matter, and has recommended this as the hours of sleep needed for people at different ages:

  • Newborns (0-3mths): 14-17hrs

  • Infants (4-11mths): 12-15hrs

  • Toddlers (1-2): 11-14hrs

  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13hrs

  • School age children (6-13): 9-11hrs

  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10hrs

  • Young adults (18-25): 7-9hrs

  • Adults (26-64): 7-9hrs

  • Older adults (65+): 7-8hrs

Now while this list is a helpful starting point, it isn’t prescriptive. You might get away with sleep for less than the recommended time, or you might need longer. Ultimately, you need to sleep long enough for you to feel well rested and alert. Here’s how you can work that out.

Are you sleeping long enough?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to work out whether your body is getting the rest it needs.

  • Do you notice a change in productivity sleeping 7hrs compared to 9hrs?

  • Do you depend on caffeine to be alert during the day?

  • Are you sleepy when driving?

  • Do you have other health issues, like being overweight?

  • Are you experiencing other sleep problems?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you need more sleep than you’re currently getting. And there are plenty of ways you can start doing that.

How to sleep better

Often the reason we don’t get enough sleep, is that we prioritise other things over resting our bodies. That attitude has to change. We need to get enough sleep, otherwise the things we do won’t be done as well as they could, and we won’t enjoy them as much as we could.

Here are some ways to get better and longer sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends and holidays

  • Have a bedtime ritual that helps you relax (no screens)

  • Exercise every day

  • Make sure temperature, sound and light are ideal in your room

  • Make sure your mattress and pillows are right for you

  • Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm

  • Avoid excessive alcohol, especially in the hours before bed.

These practices are keys to a healthy, happy lifestyle, and things you really should be doing.

But it isn’t always that easy. For some people, tiredness isn’t just a matter of not sleeping enough, but is actually the result of a disruptive and potentially dangerous sleep disorder.

If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping, or getting enough sleep, then get in touch with us. Coming in and having a chat to one of our sleep technicians is a great first step on your journey to better sleep.




This article is from Keystone Medical Media, a sub-entity of Keystone Content.

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