How Much Sleep Is Enough?


Time to read: 1.5 mins

Spending time under the duvet is serious business!

The amount of hours kip you need each day will change over the course of your life but it’s very important to get it all at every stage. Sleep needs will vary from person to person, but the chart below shows general recommendations for different age groups.

The National Sleep Foundation convened experts from sleep, anatomy and physiology, as well as paediatrics, neurology, gerontology and gynaecology to reach a consensus from the broadest range of scientific disciplines.

The panel revised the recommended sleep ranges for all six children and teen age groups. A summary of the new recommendations includes:

Sleep Debt

If you routinely lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. The total sleep lost is called your sleep debt. It’s not however like a financial account, and that a built-up debt must be repaid.

For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you don’t necessarily have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week.

Research has shown that a chronic lack of sleep of getting 6 hours or less per night produced the same cognitive performance deficits shown with 2 nights of total sleep deprivation!

It shows that even relatively moderate sleep restriction can seriously impair waking neurobehavioral functions in healthy adults. And it would put forward the hypothesis that much of the modern world is in a state of widespread sleep deprivation equating to a dulled effect on society’s brainpower and creativity.

Bad sleep habits and long-term sleep loss will affect your health. If you're worried about whether you're getting enough sleep, try using a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down:

  • how much you sleep each night,

  • how alert and rested you feel in the morning,

  • and how sleepy you feel during the day.

Show the results to your doctor and talk about how you can improve your sleep.

If your job or daily routine limits your ability to get enough sleep or sleep at the right times, talk with your doctor. You also should talk with your doctor if you sleep more than 8 hours a night, but don't feel well rested. This may indicate a sleep disorder or other health problem.

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