How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep?
There’s nothing worse than starting your day without enough sleep. Groggy, cranky, and already feeling like you just want to crawl back into bed is no way to go through life. Not only that, there’s new evidence to suggest that sleeping longer is good for both your short and long term health. So how much sleep do you actually need?
That’s where things get tricky, and we’ve provided plenty of sleeping tips to help. The short answer is at least seven hours, but just like a thumbprint, a sleeping schedule is as individual as the sleeper. Don’t fret, That’s doesn’t mean that you can’t figure out how much sleep you need, what constitutes good sleep, or how to get the most of your time in bed, we’ve delved deep into sleep research to help you figure out your sleep profile.
Short Sleepers are in Short Supply
While there is a tiny subset of the population that can get by with less than six hours of sleep (dubbed, “short sleepers” by sleep scientists), unfortunately most of us will need at least seven hours to get the rest we need. This has to do with the REM sleep cycle, which happens approximately three times a night. REM is when we get our best and deepest sleep, when our body releases hormones like orexin and melatonin which are vital for revitalizing our bodies and minds.
The natural REM cycle of the body takes about three hours to complete, hence the recommendation of seven to nine hours. If you short change that sleep even an hour or two, you could risk disrupting a super important part of your sleep process. That’s why you might feel bloated, puffy, and grouchy in the morning.
Misconception: We Need Less Sleep as We Age
While it’s definitely true that kids sleep more – it’s been said that kids under 13 should sleep up to 11 hours a night, and teens should sleep at least 9 – it’s actually a misconception that we need less sleep as we age through adulthood. In fact, even though the elderly are famous for waking up at the crack of dawn, they should still be getting a solid seven or eight hours of sleep a night. The reason most sleep less is not because they need it, but because it becomes harder for the body to manufacture those hormones as we age.
That’s why it’s vitally important to make good sleep hygiene a priority as we age. A new mattress, consistent bedtimes, and less blue light are all ways that we can make sure that we keep sleep a prerogative.
Your Body is Your Best Tell
While there are a ton of new sleep apps out there to tell you if you’re getting enough hours in on your mattress, or if the quality of your sleep is the best it can be, the best way to find these things out is to listen to your body. That might sound too simple, but it’s true. Try to fall asleep early enough that you can wake up without an alarm. Monitor your feelings when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel refreshed and rested or groggy and grouchy? The body knows when it needs more, and isn’t afraid to tell you. If you suspect that you aren’t getting enough sleep, you probably aren’t. The good news is that with a little practice and a little patience, everyone can get the sleep they deserve. Now go be the best sleeper you can be!