How Much Sleep We Actually Need in a Day?

Feeling sleepy all day long and thus ruining the whole of it is probably not in your plan. This can only happen when either you are not having enough sleep or you are sleeping more than your body needs. Let me remind you that when you are sleeping, your body is actually getting prepared for the next day with shutting down the nervous system, the eyes closed, leaving the postural muscles relaxed and consciousness practically stays suspended.

The necessity of sleep decreases as you get older. Any distraction from the required sleeping hours may cause great suffering. Throughout years of researches, it has been proved that we human beings spend one-third of our lives in sleep. If an adult sleeps eight hours each day and have an average lifespan of 78.8 years (according to the Unites States), then he sleeps 9587.3 days in his life which is almost one-third of his entire life.

How much sleep actually need in a day

Before talking about the sleeping circle in details, you must have a look at the list of hours that you need to spend in sleeping considering your age group. The revised version is also included which is approved by U.S National Sleep Foundation.

Stage of life Age group Hours to sleep (revised) Hours to sleep (previous)
Newborns 0-3 months 14-17 hours 12-18 hours
Infants 4-11 months 12-15 hours 14-15 hours
Toddlers 1-2 years 11-14 hours 12-14 hours
Preschoolers 3-5 years 10-13 hours 11-13 hours
School age children 6-13 years 9-11 hours 10-11 hours
Teenagers 14-17 years 8-10 hours 8.5-9.5 hours
Younger adults 18-25 years 7-9 hours 7-9 hours
Adults 26-64 years 7-9 hours 7-9 hours
Older Adults 65+ years 7-8 hours 7-8 hours

Now it’s easier for you to match if you are sleeping accordingly or not. In case you aren’t on track, I want to let you know something really important.

Necessity of “Deep sleep” and “REM sleep”: When you are in deep sleep, the body gets repaired and gets you prepared for the next day. Besides, it boosts up the mind and mood. Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep is rather more important and this sleep is best found in nights. People go through this REM sleep in 4 or 5 stages. Adults generally spend 90-120 minutes in this REM sleep which is almost 20-25% of the sleeping hour. Infants spend more than half of their sleeping hours in REM. REM sleep is highly related to creativity and productivity. During this sleep, the eye moves randomly and the muscles stay paralyzed.

Why must you sleep according to the chat?

You must because it is related to both your physical and mental health. Your body gets prepared for the next day while sleeping. Efficiency,  energy of the body and the overall health will be improved if you can follow the sleeping chart. Not only this, Cellular metabolism and homeostasis are very much related with a sleeping circle. Moreover, metabolism is also responsible for molecular turnover and clearance of metabolic waste.

Ana Noia, a senior clinical physiologist in neurophysiology and sleep, at Bupa Cromwell Hospital says that, “During sleep, the hormone which stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration is also released, so you can see why little ones sleep so much”. You cannot sleep as much as you want thinking that it will be improving your health. More or less sleep may lead body to less productivity, slowness in processing, less cognitive success and so on. Your digestive system remains according to the order when your body gets proper sleep and you stay out of obesity.

Who are at risk of being sleep deprived?

They who get less sleep than their body requires are deprived of sleep and let’s see who are at this risk.

  • New parents
  • Drivers
  • Doctors
  • Teenager students with excessive pressure
  • Patients of “Insomnia”

What may happen when you are deprived of the needed sleep?

Firstly you may feel sleepy all the day and I’m sure you will. You will be unable to pay required concentration to anything you do and thus you will lack motivation and gather depression. Returning back to home you will find your sex drives decreased. Your life will be an irregular one.

Horrible to sound but it’s true that you may look much older than you are and yes the anti-aging creams may fail too. As an effect of irregular life, immune system of your body will be weakened and infections may get comfortable in staying with you. Moreover, several types of research prove that there is a high risk of facing memory problems when you are deprived of your required sleep. You will be unable to concentrate or learn as you could have done if you had sufficient sleep. Not done yet, your problem-solving skills will be reduced and thus you may face difficulties in making decisions. Hallucinations and delirium are very common outcomes of sleep deprivation and this may lead you to accidents.

If you are on diet then let me warn you that less or more sleep may cause you gain more weight. Don’t think that you should sleep as much as you can. Dr. Watson, MD and president-elect of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) says, “Long sleep may be a surrogate marker of poor health.” After a test, Matthew Walker, the director of the sleep and neuroimaging lab at the University of California, Berkeley, stated that “One sleepless night is the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk”. Another study found that the risk of heart disease increased 50 percent for those who slept less than four hours a night compared to participants who slept between four and eight hours each night.

Can humans store sleep?

The answer is no. Unlike storing calories in body humans cannot just store sleep. “People think that sleep is like the bank. Walker has a better answer for the query. He says, “That you can accumulate a debt and then hope to pay it off at a later point in time. And we now know that sleep is not like that.” You cannot just sleep a whole day at weekend and preserve it for the working days. Doing so will interrupt your sleeping circle.

Don’t be careless when you sleep only 1 hour less: This is very much possible to think that sleeping only one hour less is not that much harmful to health. But I must say that sleeping only one hour less may leave you as sleepy as several hours can do. A study revealed that those who sleep one hour less a day may feel sleepy trice a day while only one hour could solve them all.

How can you ensure the required sleep?

Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as much as you can and avoid them especially at night. Drink sufficient water. You can try some workouts, maybe 30 minutes a day. Choose the best pillow suits you and this will not let you sleeping hour interrupted. Lastly, stay out of noises and lights at night.

Should it be 8 hours exactly?

Average adults need 8 hours sleep per day and this keeps their life circle perfect although a study revealed that people sleeping 7 hours a day live longer.

Sleeping more than 8 hours is as harmful as sleeping less than 8 hours a day. Both can destroy the day and at the end may lead to an early death. A balanced sleep may present a healthy physic and mood.

Image credit: greatist

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