With sleep deprivation emerging as a popular topic in recent years, I can’t help but wonder if my party and my late night study days really doomed me for all eternity.
Is it possible to catch up with the Zzz now that I’m an adult?
Speaking of catching up, how much am I supposed to catch up?
Can it be done in 1 month, or do I need to extend it over the course of a year (or, God forbid, more)?
How much sleep is really enough, and does it differ from person to person?
There are a million questions in my head, so I took a look at the research. Sleep deprivation is a common problem, affecting more than a third trusted source of American adults.
Science has shown many long-term negative effects of prolonged sleep deprivation on overall health and well-being, from memory problems and mood swings to high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
Being sleep deprived simply means that you are sleeping less (or less quality sleep) than your body requires, not allowing you to do the hard work of recharging, refueling, and repairing.
You may think 8 hours is enough. But how do you feel the next day? Struggling to wake up in the morning until you have your third cup of coffee can be a sign of sleep deprivation.
Sleeping is a basic human need. Getting what you need means it can work in the best way.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the general recommended amount for adults is 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.
During that time, your body goes through five different stages of sleep:
- Light sleep
- Moderate to deep sleep
- Deep sleep
- Dreaming, with REM (rapid eye movement) and no REM rotation
The first two phases are the lightest sleep. They are preparing your body to sleep and rest more deeply by lowering your body temperature and slowing down the action of brain waves.
Phases three and four are deeper sleep, when your body is working hard to repair and heal. Your brain releases important hormones to optimize all bodily functions.
During phase five, dreams and REMs occur.
When it comes to the question of how much sleep is enough, all phases of sleep need to be considered. Each person spends different amounts of time on each one.
So how do you calculate how much you need?
Knowing your sleep
A Trusted Source study explored the connection between specific personality traits and sleep quality. It turns out that her personality may have clues to her dream.
According to research, extroverts and those with a lower tendency to experience distress and negative emotions generally had better sleep quality. Introverts and those struggling with self-discipline and organization had more challenges sleeping.
Learning more about your patterns can also help you figure out why you might have trouble opening your eyes in the morning or feeling that shock at noon.
Here are some easy ways to do just that.
Know your rhythm
The easiest way to hear your body’s sleep rhythm is through self-observation. Keep a notebook near your bed and write down answers to questions like:
- How do you feel when you climb under the covers? Annihilated or wide awake?
- How about your body Are you sore and sore or relaxed and loose?
- What time was your last meal?
- What time do you get into bed?
Do the same when you wake up:
- What do you remember about the quality of your sleep?
- Did you fall asleep easily or did you turn around?
- Was your mind racing?
- Did you wake up often?
- You dreamed If you did, what kind of dreams did you have?
- What woke you up? Did you feel dizzy or renewed?
Answering these questions consistently for several days in a row will give you more clarity about your sleep patterns.
Calculate your dream
Calculating how much you actually sleep each night and how much time you spent at each stage of sleep can help you get a better idea of what happens when you close your eyes.
Important details to consider when calculating your dream include:
- your time to wake up
- if you were able to complete five to six sleep cycles, or if they were interrupted (each takes about 90 minutes)
- when you fall asleep and how long it takes from the time you go to bed
If you complete five or six sleep cycles, it would take you between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep. If you sleep less than that, it probably means you woke up in the middle of one of your cycles.
Get high tech
Portable technology makes it easy to track your sleep, with devices that detect the variability of your heart rate, activity levels, and even how much time you spend in each phase of sleep.
Take a look at trackers like the Oura Ring, which tracks key signals from your body while you sleep, or Whoop, which is designed to track sleep for peak performance.
Although not as accurate, even an Apple Watch and Fitbit can tell you about your dream.
Wear a sleep sensor
Sleep sensor mats are another option to track sleep.
Brands like Withings can help you assess the quality of your sleep and make small improvements, such as dimming the lights before bed or setting the thermostat to the optimum temperature in the morning.
Everything is clearly displayed in your Health Mate app, where you can check your sleep score and work to improve it.
Another option is Luna. It is a sleeping mat that tracks your heart and respiratory rates and changes your bed temperature to match your bedtime. It also communicates with other devices, such as activity trackers and alarm clocks.
What does your energy tell you?
If your data looks good but you still wake up feeling tired, it may be time to talk to a professional. Your doctor can administer appropriate tests to rule out any serious problems and help you regain sleep.
Sleep by age
Many underestimate the importance of sleeping and living according to the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” rule. Experts disagree with this philosophy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep needs vary by age:
- Babies up to 12 months: 14 to 17 hours.
- Children up to 5 years: 10 to 14 hours.
- Children up to 12 years old: from 9 to 11 hours.
- Adolescents: 8 to 10 hours.
- Adults: 7 to 9 hours.
- Older adults: 7 to 8 hours.
Of course, these are general guidelines. Sleep needs vary for everyone based on health, lifestyle, and other factors.
In addition to age and personality, specific medical conditions can affect the duration and needs of your sleep.
Depression and anxiety
If you are dealing with depression, it can affect your source of SleepTrusted. Depression has been linked to sleep problems like:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless Leg Syndrome
These sleep problems can also increase the risk of depression.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is mainly related to the absence of sleep. A nervous state can prevent the body from entering the “rest and digestion” mode that is essential for repair and rejuvenation.
In both cases, getting enough sleep and regulating your sleep habits can improve mental health.
Try this :Try a relaxing meditation to help relax your nervous system and calm you down to sleep. There are also techniques specifically designed to help you fall asleep quickly.
Heart problems are also related to the Confident Source to lack of sleep. Sleeping helps the heart to relax and protects the arteries of the trusted source from hardening, a process known as atherosclerosis. Sleep duration has also been found to be a predictor of cardiovascular health.
Try this : Lifestyle factors can affect both sleep and heart health. Try adjusting exercise time, food, caffeine, and alcohol consumption to help you sleep more soundly.
Chronic pain conditions
People who have chronic pain conditions often report problems with InsomniaTrusted Source and difficulty staying asleep. In turn, sleep disruptions can worsen pain. Breaking the interrupted sleep cycle is important for the body to repair and heal.
Try this : If your pain keeps you awake, try a progressive muscle relaxation technique or talk to your doctor about a magnesium supplement.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective method of overcoming insomnia.
If you still can’t sleep after making modifications like the above, it may be time to talk to a sleep expert.
The amount of sleep you need at night varies from person to person, but for most adults the ideal number is between 7 and 9 hours. With so many processes in the human body connected to sleep, it’s easy to see why calling it early at night can reap long-term health rewards.
With a few simple sleep adjustments, sleep technology, or both, you can optimize your sleep to give you exactly what you need.