How much sleep do you need?

The amount of sleep you need depends on a number of factors. They include:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Genetics
  • Health
  • Lifestyle

Everyone’s sleep needs are different. They will also fluctuate over time. It is important to consider times when you need extra sleep and make sure you get it. If you forget things, feel drowsy during the day or feel irritable, you aren’t functioning optimally. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises adults to sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night. Getting enough sleep every evening is vital for your health and wellbeing.

What are your sleep needs?

How do you decide what your ideal amount of sleep is? Try keeping a sleep diary. Record how much sleep you get every night. Write down what activities you do during the day. Are there any patterns you notice? You might realise that an hour at the gym means you need that little bit of extra sleep that evening. 

Think about how you feel during the day. Do you spend a lot of time reaching for your next caffeine or nicotine shot? Are you constantly yawning and easily irritated? Try going to bed earlier so you can get more snooze time. This can help improve your mood and you will be less reliant on coffee and cigarettes to get you through the day.

The short sleep gene

According to research less than 3% of the population have a short sleep gene. People with this gene are able to function on less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. They don’t suffer any ill effects after only 6 hours of sleep. The rest of us aren’t that lucky. Until this knowledge is used to help us poor sleep deprived souls, we’ll just need to stay in bed longer.

Can you have too much sleep?

Teenagers would probably say they can never have too much sleep. They will happily snooze past lunch. But can too much sleep be a problem?

Experts say that if you are regularly sleeping over 8 or 9 hours a night, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem. In this case, it is wise to have a chat with your health provider.  It could be a symptom of type 2 diabetes, migraines, heart disease or depression.

Some people feel worse for additional sleep. Again, it is worth remembering that everyone is different. If sleeping longer than average is normal for you, then there’s no cause for concern. You clearly just enjoy hanging out in dreamtime. 

What happens when you don’t sleep enough?

When you don’t sleep enough, it affects you mentally, physically and emotionally. Even if you feel like you are coping day to day, your body might tell a different story. 

Mental effects 

  • Poor cognitive abilities
  • Unable to focus
  • Memory issues
  • No concentration
  • Inability to learn

Physical effects

  • Low energy
  • Exhaustion
  • Balance issues
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lower immune system

Emotional effects

  • Feeling anxious
  • Increased stress
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings

Do you have a sleep problem?

The bottom line is that if you aren’t feeling energised and alert during the day there could be an issue. If you are regularly experiencing the symptoms of lack of sleep the problem needs addressing. If you are sleeping between 7 to 9 hours every night but still feel groggy, it could be a sign you aren’t getting good quality sleep.

What is quality sleep?

When you wake up rested and ready to take on the day, the chances are you’ve had good quality sleep. If you don’t, something is affecting your ability to sleep soundly during the night. Your sleep quality is poor if:

  • It takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep
  • You wake up several times during the night
  • You find it tricky to get back to sleep if you wake in the night
  • You wake up feeling tired and grumpy
  • You are plastering concealer on your dark eye circles

In this case, it is important to figure out what you can do to improve your sleep quality.

How to improve sleep quality

There are a few things you can do to help you sleep soundly through the night. If your sleep is suffering, try implementing some of these strategies.

Get some sun

When you get outside in the sun, you are telling your body it is daytime. Head out in the morning sun for more than 15 minutes each day. We admit this is easier said than done if you live in the UK. But it does work wonders for resetting your sleep-wake cycle. 

Get some exercise

Regular physical activity can boost your mental wellbeing and improve your sleep quality. It is recommended that you don’t exercise just before going to bed as that can impact your ability to fall asleep. 

Reduce stress

Feeling stressed can make it difficult to get to sleep as well as damage your quality of sleep. Try and find ways to manage your stress and anxiety so you can unwind before bed. You could try deep breathing and meditation practices. Or use essential oils as aromatherapy to improve your sleep quality.

Get comfy

It might sound obvious, but if you don’t have a comfy place to sleep, you will have a disturbed night. If you haven’t replaced your mattress in a while, think about getting a new one. Add some soft bedding and mood lighting and you’ve got the perfect atmosphere for relaxation. 

Final thoughts

If you haven’t been blessed with the short sleep gene (we feel you) then getting enough sleep is crucial. You will perform at your best, feel alert and able to overcome challenges.

Remember that the sleep you should be getting every evening is unique to you. Ultimately, only you will know when to start prioritising your snoozing schedule. Why not ponder the benefits with our RELAX? Your brain and body will be buzzing.