How Much Sleep Should You Get Every Night?
With the ever increasing and demanding life schedules that many people face in this modern age of existance, we humans often opt to have lesser sleeping hours and more working hours than ever before. Sleep can often become overlooked at the expense of activity and to the detrement to overall health and wellbeing.
Take for instance the case of someone who has a day job, is a mother of three kids and attends part-time classes in the evening or night time. As is quite often the case, the science of sleep will be the last thing on their mind as they lay their head down for a few hours every night. However, what is often overlooked and indeed many people do not realize is how much harm we cause to our brains by remaining active in the hours our bodies should be resting. Actually, if you are in any way in tune with your body to some degree, you may have noticed that whenever you lack enough sleep, you tend to have or experience various different physical health problems, mood swings, have lower concentration levels and at times you can forget things very easily.
This article will therefore aim to make a full analysis of the exact hours we need for nightly sleep in order to have a fuller and healthier life, and hopefully answer the question of how much sleep should you get each and every night. In addition to that, we will touch on any other important information about the right sleeping schedule that could be helpful and beneficial even if snoring is not an issue for you.
The Sleep Stages
In accordance with research done by the National Sleep Foundation, there is an alternating cycle that our sleep pattern follows. This involves what is known as The Rapid eye Movement cycle and the Non-rapid Eye Movement cycle which occurs to each person every single night as they sleep. These particular cycles occur repeatedly and alternate all through the night roughly every 90 minutes or so. The cycles are broken down as follows;
The non-rapid eye movement (NREM)
This one takes up 75% of the night.
Stage 1- This is the light-sleep stage where you are slipping slowly into your sleep. At this stage you can easily get distracted and the common thing people do at this stage is twitching.
Stage 2- This is actually the introductory stage to a much deeper sleep. At this stage your body’s temperature tends to lower and your body gets detached from the happenings in your surroundings, as you enter the deep sleep stage.
Stage 3- At this stage you have fallen into a deep sleep. As is common with most people, it can be a little more difficult to wake someone from this state. The few who manage to be woken from this stage wake up with their minds disoriented and may feel a little confused or tired.
The Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
The REM takes up about 20-25% of your nightly sleep. Deep sleep mostly concentrates on the state of the body, whereas REM is all about the state of the mind. In REM, the body happens to be very steady and inactive, contrary to the brain which happens to be very active. REM is where the dreaming occurs and your eyes tend to make fast random movements in varied directions. The Heart rate may increase and your breathing may become very uneven.
All in all, this is a very important part of the cycle when the brain gets a chance to make all necessary emotional regulations and clear up your memory. Similar to the way a computer updates itself with the latest software, so too does the body update and repair itself to enable you to feel fresh in the morning, In addition, during REM the protein synthesis in the body happens during this time which helps keep the body processes functioning effectively.
How much sleep is enough?
If you are thinking about how much sleep is enough for your body, you should know that there’s a very clear line that distinguishes between the amount of sleep we get and the amount of sleep our bodies really need. In our current world, a normal adult will usually have six to seven hours of sleep. This may seem convenient or even enough to most of us, but in actual fact this is considered sleep deprivation and you are not giving your body and mind the chance to fully rest and repair which is detrimental in the long run. To use the computer analogy it’s like shutting down and starting up the operating system again without having given it the chance to finish its process except our bodies are priceless and computers are replaceable. So this begs the question;
If you wouldn’t cancel a software or technology update midstream! Why on earth would you not allow your body a chance, to complete its most precious update process? Well truth be known, many people are probably unaware of the correct amount of time our body needs for sleep. Let’s face it many people will probably not recall the process of sleep, ever being discussed in great detail in their schools or even by many people they interact with. Sleep like snoring just seems to be something that is taken for granted, and many people have the approach and idea that, any sleep will do and it won’t really matter all that much.
The reality is that sleep patterns will differ from one person to another, but normally, for a person to be able to function efficiently they will need on average 8-9 hours of sleep. As we age, the time spent during sleep happens to be of the lesser figure, but for many of the younger people it tends to be more, because this is the stage when the growth hormones are released to facilitate growth.
However, other factors like sex and health may affect the amount of sleep you need every night.
Sleep Needs Change According to the Age Bracket
The amount of sleep one needs varies especially in relation to the age of a person. In most circumstances adults will need a lesser number of hours sleep, compared to say for example toddlers. The layout below was a research done by The National Sleep Foundation who came up with the optimum sleeping requirements according to age of a person. The findings were as follows;
- New born babies of (0 to 3 months) will need 14 to 17 hours of sleep on average
- Infants of (4 to 11 months) will need 12 to 15 hours of sleep on average
- Toddlers of (1 to 2 years) will need 11 to 14 hours of sleep on average
- Pre-schoolers of (3 to 5 years) will need 10 to 13 hours of sleep on average
- School-going children of (6 to 13 years) will need 9 to 11 hours of sleep on average
- Teenagers of (14 to 17 years) will need 8 to 10 hours of sleep on average
- Young adults of (18 to 25 years) will need 7 to 9 hours of sleep on average
- Adults of (26 to 64 years) will need 7 to 9 hours of sleep on average
- Older adults of (65 years or older) will need 7 to 8 hours of sleep
However, the major takeaway from these findings that should be adopted by everyone is that Adults of Ages 25 to 65 years require a 7 to 9-hour uninterrupted sleep session and no less. In saying that too much sleep is also to the detriment of the body and it is important to aim for the middle of each optimum sleep time if at all possible. I.e. not too much sleep and not too little sleep.
How you can Improve Your Sleep?
To have a healthier life and better sleep, you need to make an in-depth analysis on your daily needs and habits including the amount of time you allow yourself to sleep. You should be able to know how your body and mind reacts to certain amounts of sleep in order to make the necessary adjustments. For instance, you can compare your mood, general health and alertness after a poor night’s sleep and after experiencing the optimum rest as per the recommendations.
If having healthy sleeping schedules is your main aim, there are a few things that you may consider that may be actually helpful. Outlined below are some of them;
- Make sure that you turn off all electronic devices before bed. This include; your phone, personal computer, home theatre, tv or radio among other things that may cause distractions and impair your sleep routine.
- Make sure that your bedding is comfortable and clean. This includes your pillow, mattress and duvets. In colder climates try using electric blankets and in warmer climates try using cooling systems to help create surroundings conducive to sleep.
- Adjust your bedroom’s temperature and lighting to a comfortable level.
- Practice a habitual sleeping schedule that you should stick to no matter what.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol just before bedtime in order to have better sleep.
- Ensure that you exercise on a daily basis in order to relax both your muscles and your mind.
As well as these recommendations, you should make sleeping a priority at night. Let it always appear at the top or high up on your daily to-do-list. Never compromise your essential sleeping period at night for those long movie sessions, or late night chit-chats with friends. We hope the above analysis of the Sleep hours that your body requires will help you lead a healthier and better night sleep for you, your friends and loved ones. Don’t forget to share the message on the importance of getting the correct amount of sleep. Feel free to leave a comment on our blog pages if you find something useful or if our content proved to be helpful to you. Also the site contains lots of other useful information regarding sleep and snoring so take a little while if you need to and read a little more to improve your knowledge of snoring and to understand sleep a bit better too!