Are You Getting Enough Sleep? Here's What Science Says
As kids, we hated the idea of taking a nap. As adults, we fantasize about being able to get in just a 10-minute nap.
Our relationship with sleep changes drastically as we age and this continues well into our elder years. We may not have the luxury of taking naps anymore (so instead we are cursing our younger selves) but what we can do is get a restful night’s sleep. The question is:
“How much sleep do I need?”
We know it’s vital for overall health but is there an exact amount of sleep we should all be getting each night? Let’s take a look at some recent studies to hear what science has to say about the ideal amount of sleep.
Why We Need Sleep
Before we jump into how much you should be getting, it’s important to review the reasons behind why our bodies need sleep so badly.
Think of sleep as repair time. Your body shuts down and gets to work with repair and recovery down to a cellular level. Here are some of the most important highlighted benefits:
- Boosts cognitive ability
- Guards against depression
- Decreases risk of injury from over training
- Promotes a healthy weight
- Supports immune system
The Magic Number
You’re convinced you need more sleep but just how much more? That magic number is still eight.
Although there are many skeptics out there, mainstream researchers are still pushing for the idea that as adults we need eight hours per night. The problem with living in 2017 is that many of us are sleep deprived and we don’t even realize it. How’s that possible?
One word: Caffeine.
We are hot wiring our nervous system to kick into overdrive for most of the day to get done everything we need. Not only are many of us sleep deprived but many of us are also dealing with adrenal fatigue syndrome.
So is there a way to get rid of sleep deprivation AND adrenal fatigue syndrome simultaneously. Of course, it’s all about getting eight hours of sleep every night and kicking your over indulgence habit of caffeine.
What Science Says About the Amount of Sleep
Is eight hours really valid?
Or just a false fact that won’t go away.
Well, according to recent studies, it’s a fact.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that when subjects get seven hours or less of sleep on a consistent basis, their cognitive ability starts to decline. This isn’t a long-term decline. Once sleeping patterns were reestablished at eight to nine hours of sleep each night for a few weeks, cognitive testing significantly improved.
If this seems like wishful thinking, the idea is to attempt to get eight hours of sleep. If you only get seven and a half hours, you’re still getting the rest you need for ideal functioning. Seven flat isn’t great but it sure beats six.
Tell Us What You Think!
Do you agree with the research?
How much sleep do you get each night?
Let us know in the comments below!
Belenky G, Wesensten NJ, Thorne DR, Thomas ML, Sing HC, Redmond DP, Russo MB, Balkin TJ. Patterns of performance degradation and restoration during sleep restriction and subsequent recovery: a sleep dose-response study. J Sleep Res. 2003 Mar;12(1):1-12.
Van Dongen HP, Maislin G, Mullington JM, Dinges DF. The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness: dose-response effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep deprivation. Sleep. 2003 Mar 15;26(2):117-26.