There isn’t an exact number of hours per night that everyone needs to extract the maximum benefits from their body and mind; however, science has proven that too little sleep can cause serious health problems and impairment in mental and physical abilities.
We must remember, though, that our bodies are all unique. People will function better with more or fewer hours of sleep than others. Some people have the luxury of functioning on as little as 5 hours of sleep a night, while others would require ten or more.
Since each body is unique, it’s essential to pay attention to your daily habits. Being able to track your normalized patterns can be very beneficial when pinpointing what works best for you.
If possible, try tracking the number of hours you sleep at night and how many times throughout the day that you need a nap or some downtime. Through this process, one may find out their optimal sleeping pattern and any changes they want to make to improve both mental and physical health.
There may not be an exact number of hours one needs/should get per night. Still, science shows us that getting enough sleep each night can positively affect overall health and development with increased cognitive abilities.
How to get the sleep that you need?
Getting good quality sleep is about more than just following your circadian rhythm. It’s about making your bedroom comfortable, stress-free, and conducive to sound sleep.
How you design and use your bedroom can affect the amount of sleep you get. If you’re finding it difficult to get quality slumber at night, take a look at these simple tips on how to have a positive sleeping environment.
Your bedroom is meant for sleeping only.
- Many people try to combine activities into their bedrooms, such as working or even watching TV. Unfortunately, though, doing chores in your room can result in poorer quality sleep since you associate the space with non-sleeping functions.
Avoid disturbances, your bedroom should only be used for sleeping.
- Since you spend a third of your life asleep, it makes sense to invest in the perfect mattress and pillow. A good-quality mattress with customized support can promote better sleep. Memory foam mattresses are great choices since they are very comfortable and help ease pressure points on the body.
Keep the room dark and cool.
- Light has an impact on our body’s natural production of melatonin – a hormone responsible for inducing sleep. When exposed to sunlight, melatonin production slows down, resulting in delayed sleep. Exposure to bright lights before bedtime will signal the body that it’s time to wake up, so you’ll find yourself struggling with trying to fall asleep.
Too much or too little temperature can also affect your quality of sleep. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (in celsius, something between 15 to 25 degrees). If you are looking for a quick way to cool down, try using an ice pack on your pillow or a fan on your face to stimulate the sensation of coldness.
How much sleep is recommended for each age group and why?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8 hours of sleep for adults. Teens should get 8-10 hours, and school-age children need 9-11 hours, while young kids need 10-13 hours. This is because certain stages of development require a specific amount of time to rest and recharge the mind and body.
It’s been shown that not receiving enough sleep can have lasting effects on brain function, physical growth, chronobiological development, mental health, and the immune system.
Typically teens may only receive 6-9 1/2 hours each night while in school, but they should be receiving 8-10 hours. Students who are sleep-deprived tend to have more problems focusing in school, decreased memory retention, and lower grades. These numbers differ for adults because working full time typically determines how many total hours of sleep you get each night.
An adult who thinks they’re getting the recommended amount of sleep may not be because it takes about 10 minutes to fall into a deep sleep and then another 5-20 min to get into REM (rapid eye movement) which is when dreaming occurs.
People often wake up before entering this stage, so their body doesn’t “rest” enough throughout the night, making them feel tired during the day even if they aren’t waking up during the REM stage.
This is why it’s essential to make sure you get a whole night of deep sleep which means going to bed at the same time every night and sleeping for 7-9 hours. Waking up naturally during these hours prevents an alarm from jolting your brain into a light sleep stage that leaves you sluggish all day long.
Our bodies are all unique, and we find out what works best for us by paying attention to our daily habits, such as how many hours of sleep we get at night and how many times we need a nap or downtime during the day. Through this process, one may find out what their optimal sleeping pattern is and if they want to make changes for both mental and physical health benefits.