By understanding your nightly sleep needs and what you can do to bounce back from sleep loss, you can finally get on a healthy sleep schedule.
What you can do
- Learn to distinguish between the myths and facts about sleep
- Figure out how many hours of sleep you need each night
- Recognize signs that indicate you're not getting enough sleep
- Understand the effects of chronic lack of sleep
- Discover how you can get the sleep that you need
- Learn more by reading the related articles
Why is sleep so important?
The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service” and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
The good news is that you don't have to choose between health and productivity. As you start getting the sleep you need, your energy, efficiency, and overall health will go up. In fact, you're likely to find that you actually get more done during the day than when you were skimping on shuteye and trying to work longer.xxxHow many hours of sleep do you need?
There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function optimally. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, though, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.
Just because you're able to operate on six or seven hours of sleep doesn't mean you wouldn't feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more (see Average Sleep Needs table below). And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.
Content Originally Published By: Helpguide.org