For children and adults, these rules serve as a general guideline, but it is important to remember that the appropriate amount of sleep might vary from person to person.
As a result, the guidelines include a range of hours for each age category. People with specific situations may be able to squirm their way into the “acceptable,” but still not optimal, sleeping time ranges, according to the recommendations.
There are a number of factors to consider when determining what amount of sleep you require. The following questions can assist you in determining your personal sleep requirements:
- Are you productive, healthy, and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or have you noticed that you require more hours of sleep to get into high gear?
- Do you have coexisting health issues? Are you at higher risk for any disease?
- Do you have a high level of daily energy expenditure? Do you frequently play sports or work in a labor-intensive job?
- Do your daily activities require alertness to do them safely? Do you drive every day and/or operate heavy machinery? Do you ever feel sleepy when doing these activities?
- Are you experiencing or do you have a history of sleeping problems?
- Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
- When you have an open schedule, do you sleep more than you do on a typical workday?
- Start with the above-mentioned recommendations and then use your answers to these questions to home in on your optimal amount of sleep.
1. Everyone needs 8 hours
As with many aspects of human biology, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep. Overall, research suggests that for healthy young adults and adults with normal sleep, 7–9 hours is an appropriate amount.
The story gets a little more complicated, though. The amount of sleep we need each day varies throughout our lives:
- newborns need 14–17 hours
- infants need 12–15 hours
- toddlers need 11–14 hours
- preschoolers need 10–13 hours
- school-aged children need 9–11 hours
- teenagers need 8–10 hours
- adults need 7–9 hours
- older adults need 7–8 hours
You can train your body to need less sleep
Rumor has it that you can teach your body to sleep less than 7–9 hours. It’s sad to say, but it’s not true.
Sleeping less than six hours a night is extremely uncommon, according to specialists. Scientists believe that even while some people claim to be fine with a lack of sleep, they are more likely to have become accustomed to the harmful effects of sleep deprivation.
But just because someone has become accustomed to the consequences of sleeping for fewer than six hours a night does not mean that their body requires less sleep. “A sleep expert at the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute in Wingate explains:”
- “Some people assume they are adapting to being awake more, but they are actually performing at a lower level. Because the functional deterioration is so gradual, they don’t notice it.”
- “In the end, sleep deprivation’s impacts can’t be denied. It’s also not possible to train the body to sleep less. — Cynthia LaJambee
It is worth mentioning, however, that a small number of people appear to be able to function well on less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night A genetic mutation may be to blame for this, thus it’s unlikely that anyone can learn how to do it on their own.
2. Daytime naps are unhealthy
In order to get a good night’s sleep, doctors advise against taking naps. For those who have missed out on sleep in the past, a tactical nap can help pay off some of the accrued sleep debt.
A 20-minute sleep is a good amount of time to take a nap. The body has plenty of time to rest and recuperate as a result. Those who sleep longer than this risk falling into a deep sleep and waking up feeling weary the next day.
Taking a “siesta” during the day is common in various nations, but napping during the day is more frequent in the United States. Taking a nap in the early afternoon may be more natural than resisting sleep until the end of the day because our bodies naturally lose energy in the afternoon.
After all, the vast majority of animals sleep in brief bursts throughout the day as polyphasic sleepers.
“Subjective and behavioral benefits” and “improvements in mood and subjective levels of drowsiness and exhaustion” have been found in a broad evaluation of the effects of napping. “Addition, logical thinking, response time, and symbol identification” were some of the tests in which persons who napped performed better.
However, not all snoozes are created equal. Nappies can be taken at any time of day, for any length of time, and at any frequency. It’s as simple as this:
- “Epidemiological studies show that short naps several times a week may reduce the risk of cardiovascular and cognitive problems.”
- The author also notes that further research is needed to better understand how characteristics linked with napping affect health outcomes.. An investigation into the link between napping and cardiovascular disease was recently published by Medical News Today.
- During the day, if a someone is really fatigued, they may have a sleep condition such as sleep apnea, which can be treated.
- Prior to concluding all the napping myths and riddles, scientists will need to undertake additional research.
3. All animals sleep
Many people assume that all animals sleep because humans and our pets appear to do so. According to this, this is not the case. Researchers who wrote the paper “Do all animals sleep?” explain that all animals do so.
- The notion of sleep for certain creatures is a state that never manifests itself.” During the postpartum period or during seasonal migrations, some people cease or drastically reduce their’sleep’ behavior without accumulating a’sleep debt.'”
- REM sleep does not appear to be a part of the lives of several aquatic animals, reptiles, fish, and insects.
- To tell whether an animal is sleeping or resting is difficult since sleep is not merely an absence of consciousness, but rather a regular cycle of unique brain processes.
- There are just about 50 of the over 60,000 vertebrate species that are known to be capable of slumber, according to the authors. Of those, some don’t satisfy the criterion for sleep at any point in their lives, while others appear to be able to significantly cut or go without sleep for long periods of time. “
4. More sleep is always better
Despite the fact that many people find it difficult to acquire the quantity of sleep they need, some sleep longer than their body requires on a regular basis. This may theoretically give these people superpowers.
According to studies, those who sleep for longer periods of time have a lower quality of life. According to one study that tracked 276 adults for six years, the following results were obtained:
- There was a 27% and 21% higher risk of obesity among those who slept for shorter and longer periods than the average length of time, respectively.
- Even after investigators accounted for age, sex, and baseline body mass index, this finding remained. According to some researchers, sleep length may also play a role in mortality.
- In the journal Sleep, a meta-analysis concluded that “Both short and lengthy duration of sleep are important predictors of death.”
5. Sleep deprivation can be lethal
It’s not known if sleep deprivation has ever led to a fatality. Although it’s theoretically possible, scientists believe it’s highly unlikely.
I can see how the myth would have spread, though. Many people have experienced the agony of sleep deprivation. There is evidence that excessive sleep deprivation is not lethal, as demonstrated by the case of Randy Gardner
Gardner took part in a sleep deprivation experiment in 1965, when he was barely 16 years old. For 11 days and 24 minutes, he stayed awake for a total of 264.4 hours.
He was constantly followed by fellow students and sleep scientists during this period. Sleep deprivation symptoms intensified over time, but he managed to pull through. Is there a reason why this myth has been around for so long?
Sleep deprivation is thought to be a cause of death because of a study conducted in the 1980s. When researchers used a certain experimental method to prevent rats from sleeping, they discovered that they would die within two to three weeks.
On a disc hung over the water, the researchers placed rats. Brain activity was constantly monitored by them. To avoid drowning, the rat would have to take action whenever it fell asleep, as the disc would move by itself.
Despite the deaths that occurred in Rechtschaffen’s studies, further research has shown that this is not the norm. Different methods of preventing rats from sleeping do not cause them to die. A similar study on pigeons indicated that the disc method was not harmful to the birds.
Humans, on the other hand, feel the effects of sleep deprivation. Gardner’s parents were concerned about their son’s well-being in 1965. He was to be observed by Lieutenant Commander John J. Ross of the U.S. Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, based in San Diego. It’s a gradual decline in ability that he mentions.
As an example, by the second day, Gardner was finding it increasingly difficult to keep his eyes focused. He grew irritated and uncooperative by day four of the experiment. His first hallucination and illusion of grandeur occurred on day four.
A few days after day 6, Gardner began to speak slowly as his memory began to go. By day 7, his speech was slurred. When paranoia set in on day 10, he lost the ability to convey himself through facial expression and tone of voice. His ability to pay attention and retain information had substantially dwindled.
In spite of this, he did not succumb to any long-term health problems.
Fatal familial insomnia may also be a factor in the misconception that sleep deprivation can be fatal. People who suffer from this extremely rare kind of hereditary insomnia are unable to get any rest. Neurodegeneration, not sleep deprivation, is to blame when people with this disease die.
Despite the fact that sleep deprivation is unlikely to kill you, it is important noting that being overtired does raise the risk of an accident. At least 795 people were killed in 2017 because of drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to a 2013 analysis, “[a]pproximately 13% of job injuries could be attributable to sleep disorders.” As a result, even though sleep deprivation itself isn’t dangerous, the effects it has on the body can be.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers, if it goes on for months or years.
A sleep calculator can help you figure out when to go to bed depending on your wake-up time if you want to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
At the end of your sleep cycle, you’ll feel the most refreshed, so try to wake up at that time.
For optimal health, getting enough sleep is vital. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing difficulties falling or staying asleep. Identifying the root of the problem can be done with their help.