How Much Sleep Do You Need? Is 8 Hours the True Amount?

September 7, 2009

in Adults, Infants, Kids, Sleeping Tips

The statement that you need eight hours of sleep per night is thrown about as fact. The problem is that it is only  a hypothesis. Scientists are only guessing about the eight hours. The amount of sleep you need is based on your age and  on how healthy you are. Every person needs as adequate amount of sleep in order to function correctly. Proper sleep allows us to be alert, perform to our highest abilities and keep us at our optimum health. So eight hours is the amount of sleep needed by the average person, meaning that some people need less than 6 hours while some need more than 9 hours. Thus an average of 8 hours of sleep at night.

Newborns sleep 14-16 hours per day. They need this amount of sleep because of the amount of growing they are doing.  Babies around the age of 3-6 months sleep 10-14 hours sleep. Again, because of the exorbitant amount of growing that is going on. Children and teens need 10-14 hours sleep. This amount of sleep is normally considered laziness in teenagers. They always want to take a nap or are falling asleep in class. Due to the hormonal changes and the internal changes going on inside a teenager they need a great deal more sleep than even they realize. The average adult needs approximately 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Again this depends upon a person’s health. Regular exercise during the day as well as a well balanced diet actually requires less sleep because a better quality of sleep is achieved. Pregnant women need 3 additional hours of sleep a day. It is said that a pregnant woman’s body is doing the job of a rock climber while she is at rest. Thus the need for at least 3 extra hours of sleep per day.

It’s about the quality of the sleep you get, not just the hours. In order to get the most out of a good night’s sleep you should understand the whole system. Stage one is when you’re drowsy. You are relaxed but still somewhat aware of the world around you. This lasts for approximately 10-15 minutes. Step 2 is light sleep. Your temperature starts to decline, your movements tend to stop, your heart rate reduces as your body slows for rest. Step 3 is deep sleep. You are unaware of the world around you. You’re groggy and completely disoriented. Deep sleep is when hormone cells begin to regenerate. Scientists have discovered that those who exercise stay in this stage 2-3 times as long as those that don’t exercise. Stage 5 is REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This is the last 5-6 hours of an 8 hour sleep. How much sleep you get in this stage depends upon how much sleep you get per night.

While you are sleeping the body is repairing itself and rebuilding parts that need assistance.  You know that you have achieved the right amount and the right quality of sleep when you wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. If you have trouble focusing during the day or find yourself nodding off then perhaps you need more sleep.

Find out how much sleep you need by trying out a sleep reduction experiment. The first night get the least amount of sleep you believe you can function on. Don’t be crazy and not sleep at all. Start out at 5-6 hours sleep. Take note of how you feel in the morning. Are you dragging or did you bounce out of bed? Now did you need a nap halfway through the day? Then  try adding one hour of sleep to the amount you slept the night before. Repeat this exercise until you not only bounce out of bed, you don’t feel sleepy during the day anymore. If you’re getting the right amount of sleep, going to bed at the same time every night, as well as getting up at the same time every day, then you may soon find yourself throwing out that alarm clock because you have optimized your body’s natural alarm clock.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lisa April 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

It doesnt matter how tired I am, it takes me 2 hours or so to fall asleep. And then I am still aware of whats going on around me. I wake up everytime I turn over, when the heat/air kicks on/off, when the light changes in the room, when my kids breathing changes in the next room. Every time I get woke up, it again takes me a couple hours to fall back to sleep.Alot of times I just dose and jerk back awake. Even if I take something to help me fall asleep, I cant stay asleep. As a result, I’m finding myself getting more irritable with my loved ones and to tired to do anything. Can anyone help? This has gone on for several months now. I might get 30 to 45 minutes of sleep one night, 1 to 2 hours the next. But never over 2 hours. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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