How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? – A Helpful Guide
The daily grind that is life can be both physically and mentally exhausting, and it’s easy to let time slip by you unnoticed throughout the day. One thing that is important to schedule into your daily routine is a proper sleep routine.
It is common knowledge that sleep is vital to our health, but many people do not understand just how much getting a good night’s sleep can affect your functionality. Often times, sleeping will take a backseat to other activities, such as staying out late with friends, or staying up late watching your favorite T.V. show. While it is not unsafe to stay up late, it can begin to alter your sleep routine.
Hey, we get it, when you finally get those precious moments of “me time,” it is important to enjoy them. With the constant lingering thought of working the next day in the back of your head, it is easy to feel pressure of having to go to sleep. This can lead to many popular excuses, such as:
- “I will just take a nap tomorrow to make up for it.”
- “I will just push through it tomorrow, it’s almost the weekend.”
- “I can sleep when I’m dead.”
While these excuses may sound legitimate, albeit barely, it is important to have a good sleeping routine to ensure you get the right amount of sleep you need each night in order to recover and perform at your best.
How Much Sleep Should You Be Getting?
The amount of sleep that you should get every night depends on who “you” are. To figure this out, there are two main factors to consider, age and gender. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and each individual functions in a different way.
Age may be the most important factor when determining how much sleep is necessary. The number of hours that you need changes throughout the course of your life. For example, people that are younger need more sleep than most adults because they are still growing through their growth cycle. The recommended hours of sleep are categorized by age range below.
- 0-3 Months (Newborns)
Recommended Sleep Time: 14-17 hours
- 4-11 Months (Infants)
Recommended Sleep Time: 12-15 hours
- 1-2 Years (Toddlers)
Recommended Sleep Time: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 Years (Preschoolers)
Recommended Sleep Time: 10-13 hours
- 6-13 Years (School-Aged)
Recommended Sleep Time: 9-11 hours
- 14-17 Years (Teenagers)
Recommended Sleep Time: 8-10 hours
- 18-25 Years (Young Adults)
Recommended Sleep Time: 7-9 hours
- 25+ Years (Adults)
Recommended Sleep Time: 7-8 hours
Gender is another important factor for determining how much sleep you need. Studies have shown that women tend to have more severe symptoms of trouble sleeping and daytime sleepiness.
Britain’s leading expert in sleep science, Dr. Jim Horne, published an article in the Daily Mail describing the reasons why women need 20 more minutes of sleep than men. Horne explained that women typically multi-task often throughout the day and use more of their brain than what men do. Because of this, they usually have a greater need for sleep.
What Factors Can Affect Sleep?
There are several factors, both internal and external, that can affect your sleeping routine. While many factors may seem obvious, such as your stress level, others may be things that you don’t even notice you do.
Common symptoms such as chronic pain and anxiety affect many people’s sleep, and they directly interfere with how deep of a sleep you get. When you are only able to get a light sleep, you are easily awoken and have a higher probability of your sleep being disrupted. There are many tips and tricks to helping you fall asleep, so be sure to check them out.
It is recommended that you stop eating at least three hours before you fall asleep. Obviously, this is a recommendation that is overlooked by the majority of people as it requires you to eat properly throughout the day as to not feel hungry later in the evening. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is not always easy to plan in three square meals.
Medications, nicotine, and alcohol intake can also affect your night of sleep. While some individuals are prescribed medications based on their condition, many people try to unwind with alcohol or a cigarette. While this may help you fall asleep, it can affect the quality of sleep that you will get.
Having a nice, quiet environment to sleep in is always preferable, but people tend to overlook the importance of what they are sleeping on. Your preferred mattress should conform to your sleeping style and adjust with you. It is always recommended to avoid buying a used mattress as it is most likely formed for the person you bought it from.
Side Effects From Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation affects many people every day. While an occasional night on the wrong side of the bed won’t negatively affect you, prolonged lack of sleep can lead to many negative side effects. A few of these include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased appetite typically leading to weight gain
- Lack of motivation
Not getting enough sleep can also weaken your immune system and reduce your ability to fight off infections. This can be especially dangerous for young children and infants as they are more susceptible to infections.
What Does Sleep Help With?
The list of benefits that a good night’s sleep can provide is endless. Much like having a proper diet, sleep is essential for your body to function the way that it should. A few of the most notable benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep are listed below.
Sleep Helps Reduce Stress – When you are sleep deprived, it puts stress on your body. This stress can raise your blood pressure and make it even harder to fall asleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep can held reduce this stress, and help you remain calm throughout the day.
Sleep Helps You Heal – When you are asleep and your body is relaxed, it can repair damage that was taken through a variety of ways, ranging from injuries to exposure to ultraviolet rays. Your body is able to do this because it produces more protein when you are asleep, which is the building block for cells.
Sleep is Good for Your Heart – Not getting enough sleep can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. It is important to get your sleep in order to combat this, as an increased blood pressure will increase the stress your body is in, and will make it harder to fall asleep.
Sleep is crucial throughout your entire life as it affects your development, health, and overall mood. While it is not expected that you will always get the proper amount of sleep, it is important to be conscious of how much sleep you are getting and how much sleep you should be getting.
If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out our other content at SleepReports.com. Also, take a look at our “mattress” section to get information on choosing the right mattress for you.