How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Dr. Dan JensenSleep

How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Dr. Dan Jensen

Sleep is absolutely crucial for good health. If you’re not sleeping well, you’ll struggle with fatigue, irritability, depression, poor heart health, and other negative health outcomes. If you don’t sleep at all, you will die! So how much sleep do we really need, and why is it important we get the right amount of sleep every night?

Things That Interfere with Sleep

While our ancestors used the sun as an indicator of when to go to sleep and when to get up, technology has made it easy for us to deemphasize sleep. Artificial lights, and TV, phone, and computer screens all do their part in tricking out bodies into staying awake. Stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks also keep us awake and upset our natural circadian rhythms. At the end of the day, few of us make sleeping a priority, and we live with so much sleep debt that we don’t even remember what being rested feels like.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Sleep requirements vary from person to person, and while there is a suggested average for the number of hours you should spend sleeping, you must tune in to your unique needs. Look closely at your lifestyle, and determine what factors are affecting your sleep quantity and well as sleep quality. This could be stress, work, children, a snoring partner, or using your cellphone before bed.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Researchers can’t tell you exactly how much you should be sleeping every night. Adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Do you feel well rested after 7.5 hours of sleep? That’s great! Keep sleeping that amount, and be careful not to sleep less. Do you sleep 8 hours per night, but rely on coffee to make it through the day, or feel groggy every morning as you force yourself out of bed? Do you struggle with heart disease, diabetes, or depression? Even though you’re within the recommended hours of sleep, try sleeping 9 hours per night and watch your health improve.

How Much Should Your Children be Sleeping?

For those of us with children, it can be tough to know how much our little ones should be sleeping. Wondering when is the right time to put them to bed so you can have a few hours to yourself in the evening? Babies between 1 to 5 years need between 11-14 hours of sleep per day! That’s a full night, plus a couple long naps during the day. Children between of 6 to 13 years need around 9-11 hours of sleep, and your teens need 8-10 hours of rest per night.

Focus on Sleeping

If you’ve let your sleep slide, and have resigned yourself to feeling tired all the time, make sleeping a priority! Take a close look at your sleep patterns, try sleeping more or fewer hours, and see how you feel. Does sleeping an extra hour make you feel energetic and excited to start the day? That extra hour in bed will increase your mood and productivity, and you’ll be making much better use of your time if you give your body the rest it needs. Once you’ve found a schedule that works, stick to it! Make sure you’re getting up and going to sleep at around the same time every day, even on weekends. This will make it easy for you to adapt to the new schedule, and get the rest you need. Exercise every day, and avoid eating a heavy meal before bed.

Your bedroom is more important to your sleep than you realize, so take some time to think about every part of your room. Adjust the temperature to be pleasantly cool at night. Make sure your blanket isn’t too thick or too thin, and put darkening blinds on the windows to block out lights from the street. Is your mattress and pillow comfortable and appropriate for your sleep position? Finally, avoid using electronics an hour before bed to enjoy a deep and restful sleep.

Sound Sleep Medical

Are you ready to get the sleep you need? Visit us at Sound Sleep Medical to learn more about sleep hygiene, and treat insomnia or a sleep disorder that’s keeping you awake. We’ll help you analyze your sleep habits, and make sure you’re getting the rest you need each and every night.