How Many Hours Does One Have to Sleep to Be Healthy?

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is essential for health since it helps to recover, both physically and psychologically. However, we are not all equal when it comes to rest; the ideal duration of sleep is variable from one individual to another.

Some people, like Celine Dion, are heavy sleepers (12 hours a night), while others seem to be designed only to need 5 hours of sleep. The record in this area is held by an Australian who sleeps 3:30 per night!

Is it possible to sleep too much, or conversely, not enough? Do not we just have to listen to our needs?

Why are we sleeping?

We sleep because we are active and we get tired. When our body is exhausted, we can not work anymore. Each living being (composed of cells with a nucleus), has a circadian cycle (biological rhythm of about 24 hours) characterized by alternating phases of sleep and wakefulness. The management of this wake-sleep cycle depends on our internal biological clocks, which are sensitive to light. They have synchronized, over time, with the light-dark cycle of nature.

Sleep is necessary for life. Indeed, an experiment with rats (which, strangely, have genes and behaviors similar to those of humans) has shown that they die when, in the laboratory, they are prevented from sleeping for a period of 1 to 4 weeks. The human would be programmed to sleep every day, for a “long phase” (6 to 8 hours in the night), or for two “short phases” (5 to 6 hours at night and 1 to 2 hours the afternoon).

How many hours of sleep should I sleep?

The ideal sleep time is biologically different for each person. The norm for an adult is 7 to 8 hours, but in reality, it varies between 3 and 12 hours.

Also, the older we are, the less sleep we need. A baby will require, on average, 15 to 20 hours of sleep versus 10 to 12 hours for a child. On the other hand, a teenager will typically need 9 to 10 hours and only 7 to 8 hours will be required for the adult. An older adult needs very little sleep.

Our need for sleep is also primarily determined by hereditary dispositions. We can not choose the right amount of sleep to feel good. Indeed, it is proven that if we reduce our sleep time by one hour for several nights, a feeling of fatigue will be contacted during the day. Similarly, conversely, if we prolong our natural sleep of one hour, the quality of the latter will be less useful and will result in frequent awakenings.

Therefore, the duration of sleep that is needed is that which allows, during the day, to engage in a prolonged activity in a sitting position, remaining focused and without drowsiness. It is therefore essential to know each other well to find the ideal amount of sleep. But how do you do if you have enough or too little sleep? A good test to know your pace is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • In the morning, do I feel tired or in good shape?
  • During the day, do I ever experience periods of drowsiness?
  • Am I having trouble focusing my attention on something during the day?

It goes without saying that if you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, you need more sleep than at present. If, on the contrary, you answered “no,” your amount of sleepsuits you correctly.

The amount of your sleep versus its quality

However, whether you are a small or a big sleeper, the amount of your sleep will count relatively little if its quality is impaired. Indeed, you can feel in perfect shape after only 5 hours of rest if your sleep has been profound and recuperating. On the other hand, 10 hours may be insufficient if your night has been dotted with frequent alarms and your rest has remained light.

Some tips for a good sleep

It must be understood that the body needs to settle quietly to sleep. Therefore, it is recommended to introduce a small ritual, in the evening, to accustom your body to relax before falling into the arms of Morpheus. Thus, individual precautions or habits are to be adopted. Here are some tracks.

Avoid eating too late and too fat.

The body slows down in the evening. Digestion is, therefore, more slowly. Avoid eating a meal that is too rich or too oily in the evening, so as not to solicit your digestive organs to whom you will ask extra effort to accomplish their usual task.

Avoid overeating spicy, caffeinated or sweet.

Ginger, pepper, curry, and chili, to name just a few, are spices that stimulate the body. It is the same for sugar and caffeine. Avoid consuming these ingredients at the end of the day.

Regular sunrise and sunset time

Try to respect the time of daytime and a regular bedtime. Your body will calmly settle into sleep when the time comes.

Avoid any stimulation

Whether playing a sport, listening to an action movie, having an intense conversation with your spouse, or thinking of a distressing situation, it is recommended to avoid anything that could create too much stimulation. Or even stress, before going to bed. Your body will tend to evacuate this surplus of excitement during sleep, which will cause frequent awakenings.

Avoid an ambient temperature that is too high or too low

Find a comfortable temperature for your bedroom and make sure it stays constant during the night. Also, increasing the oxygen supply, by opening a little window, is a simple and very effective recommendation to promote a recuperative sleep.

Proper rest, whether long or not!

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