How Much Sleep Do You Really Need at Night?

Reviewed: October 07, 2013
By eHealthIQ
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need at Night?

Most people know that sleep is an essential part of out lives, in that it allows our brains and bodies to rest and recuperate from the stresses of life. However, there is much dispute as to how much sleep you really need each night. If this is the case with you, read on to learn the answer.

Examining the Numbers

The amount of sleep that people need at night depends upon many factors. For example, while a baby needs about 16 hours of sleep each night, a teenager only needs about nine. Adults, on the other hand, require anywhere from five to 10 hours of sleep depending on their stress-levels, health and life styles.

Additionally, women who are pregnant often need a few more hours of sleep than they would normally need. Nevertheless, experts agree that if you find yourself feeling tired during the day, even if you have had the required amount of sleep, your body and/or mind is telling you that you need more rest.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation can occur if you do not get the amount of sleep you need one or more days per week. When you do not get enough sleep, your reaction time and judgment is negatively effected. Furthermore, whenever sleep deprivation occurs, your mind and body will feel exhausted until you make all of your lost sleep-time up.

In fact, sleep deprivation can cause some serious health problems including depression, a weakened immune system and problems with your memory. Additionally, since a lack of sleep can cause drowsiness and reduce your reaction time and judgement, there is an increased risk of becoming involved in car accidents while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 56,000 car accidents and about 1,500 deaths each year due to drivers who insist upon driving when they are tired. Finally, lack of sleep can also significantly magnify the effects of alcohol on your body.

Caffeine and Sleep Deprivation

Before offering you tips on how to get the sleep you need, it is essential to note that no amount of caffeine can help cure sleep deprivation. Caffeine may make you feel awake temporarily but when its effects wear off, you may even feel more tired than you did before.

Getting the Sleep You Need

On the bright side, there are several things you can do to help you get the sleep that your body needs. First of all, it is important for you to establish a regular schedule for sleep, even on the weekends. If you are not tired at bedtime, try exercising, relaxing in a hot tub of water or listening to some quiet music before going to bed.

Additionally, make sure you have a comfortable pillow and a warm blanket if necessary. Avoid watching TV, reading or using a computer while in bed, as these activities can actually distract you from relaxing enough to sleep. This is because activities such as these keep your brain too active to rest properly.

Finally, do not eat anything, consume any caffeinated products or drink any alcohol for about two to three hours before retiring for the night. When you follow these valuable tips, you are sure to get the sleep you need and wake up each morning feeling rested and refreshed.

 

 

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1812420,00.html
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements

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