How Much Sleep Is Healthy?

Busy lifestyles and juggling commitments mean that many of us are not getting as much sleep as we need. Sacrificing just one hour of sleep every night results in a whole missed night of sleep over a week which can cause significant physical, mental and well-being problems.

Eight Reasons Why A Good Night’s Sleep Is So Important

Sleep is vital for the biological maintenance of your body; it gives your body chance to restore and recharge, in fact, no other activity offers the same number of benefits by doing so little. There are so many problems that come with poor sleep such as;

  1. It can cause you to gain weight
  2. Reduce your concentration levels and productivity
  3. Hinder your fitness and athletic performance
  4. Puts you greater risk of suffering heart disease and a stroke
  5. Lead to Depression and other mental health issues
  6. Damage your immune system and means you are more susceptible to illnesses
  7. It can cause inflammation and cell damage
  8. Inhibit your relationships and affect your emotions.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

As sleep gives you a wealth of benefits, from improving social relationships, your productivity at work and your wellbeing and health, it is time to start working out how much sleep you really need to get every night. As we age, the amount of sleep we need decreases. While a one-year-old may require 14 hours a day, someone over the age of 65 would need just 7-8 hours per day. To find out the amount of sleep you need in relation to your age, check out the “slumber number” table here.

While this guide is useful to give you a baseline figure of how much sleep you need, everyone is different, and the exact slumber number will vary from person to person. To find out what works best for you, start logging your sleep hours and evaluate how you feel throughout each day. When you hit your peak amount of sleep, you should feel energetic and alert from the moment you wake up until you wind down again for your regular bedtime.

What Other Factors Do I Need To Consider?

While getting enough hours of sleep is a huge start in improving your health, focus and well-being, it is also important that you achieve good sleep.  Disturbed or broken sleep can leave you feeling more tired when you wake up in the morning than you did when you went to sleep.

To ensure your sleep is not only long enough but also of good quality try to:

  • Stick to a regular bedtime and wake time
  • Limit your lie-ins on the weekend – they can alter you circadian (sleep/awake) cycle
  • Take regular exercise
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary foods close to bedtime
  • Develop a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
  • Keep a notebook by your bed, so you can write down any worries that keep you awake at night.

Instead of reducing your sleep to meet the demands of a hectic schedule, make sure you good night’s sleep and meet your slumber number and you’ll find your productivity levels go up, giving you more time to enjoy the important things in life.