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How many hours of sleep do I need?

Updated: May 14

Everyone loves a good night sleep, but are you over or under sleeping? This is a pretty common question, which isn't bad at all. This is quite a controversial topic because everyone is different. Nevertheless, you'd be amazed by the average hours a person spends sleeping.

It's hard to get to sleep every day at the same time, we have a life right! Having a sleep cycle that you can follow each day will help keep you on track. I know this works because I've used this myself. I didn't realise how many hours of rest I was getting until I started making notes on my sleeping hours - it wasn't looking great!

Science says that to wake up with a clear and restored mind you must focus on how many hours of rest you're getting each day.

So how can we manage this? First of all, it's good to understand the consequences of lost sleep.

Everyone's knows about the burnout, short temper and lack of concentration that follows with poor night sleep. Throughout many nights, the mental effects start to occur and become a bit more serious. It will be hard to concentrate on the simplest of things. You'll feel like drowsy and may even start to fall asleep during the day. Eventually, if this carries on you can walk into some serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and some have even had hair loss and muscle tightness.

If you believe that you need 6 hours of sleep a day, then you're wrong and potentially cutting your overall life span down. I like to be in bed by 9 pm so that I can fall asleep around 10 pm, this then gives me 7/8 hours of sleep every night because I wake up at 6 am. This is recommended for my age category, I will cover this in another section.

How to develop a sleep cycle that works for you.

Having a sleep routine is essential to everyone. No matter how busy you are, you should always plan your rest. When it hits sundown, our brains are primed to prepare for sleep. You must allow at least an hour in the evening, to slow down and relax.

You can do a few things to help you prepare for sleep, like going to sleep at the same time, having a warm bath, turning all of the lights off in the house, having a cup of tea, reading a book. You shouldn't watch tv, keep your blinds open, be on your phone or even have it off silent. These are distractions that will keep you up. Incorporate some of these things into your nightly ritual.

What are the sleep recommendations?

The National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council have advised the following guidelines. However, this may change when new evidence is found.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day

  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours

  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours

  • School-age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours

  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours

  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours

  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours

What are the positive effects that happen when we follow these guidelines?

If you stick to these guidelines, you will eventually see the following:

  • Boosts your immune system

  • Can slim you down

  • Boosts mental wellbeing

  • Prevents diabetes

  • Increases sex drive

  • Fights of heart disease

  • Increases fertility

At the end of the day, these are guidelines and you should be striving for at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Getting a solid amount of sleep every day will help you deal with the daily pressures that come your way.

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