How much sleep do I need? – Signs of sleep deprivation

how much sleep do we need?

Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance. That keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative rest, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service,” and you’re heading for a significant mental and physical breakdown. Besides quantity, you should focus on the quality of sleep, too. That way, you will not suffer from sleep deprivation symptoms.

How much then…?

Is there someone who can tell you how much to sleep?

Your need for sleeping and your sleeping patterns change as you aging, but this can be significantly different across individuals of the same age. There is no magic “number of sleep hours” that works for everybody of the same age.  Babies initially snooze as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, boosting growth and development (especially of the brain). School-age children and teens, on average, need about 9.5 hours of slumber per night.  Most adults need 7-9 hours of rest a night. After age 60, nighttime slumber tends to be shorter, lighter, and interrupted by multiple awakenings. Older people are also more likely to take medications that interfere with slumber. 

“Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In general, people are getting less rest than they need due to longer work hours and the availability of round-the-clock entertainment and other activities. 

Many people feel they can “catch up” on missed snooze during the weekend, but depending on how sleep-deprived they are, sleeping longer on the weekends may not be adequate. 

Tracking Sleep Through Smart Technology

Your phone can help you to improve your sleep habits.

Millions of people use smartphone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable items (including bracelets, smartwatches, and headbands) to informally collect and analyze data about their night’s rest.  Smart technology can record sounds and movement during snooze, journal hours slept, and monitor heartbeat and respiration. Data from some devices can be synced to a smartphone or tablet or uploaded to a PC.  Other apps and devices make white noise, produce light that stimulates melatonin production, and use gentle vibrations to help us sleep and wake.

Sleep fact

More than eight in ten survey respondents think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.

How much is it around the globe?

You should know what happens if you are sleep-deprived.

Which part of the world do you live in? Average sleep hours vary among countries. People snooze for 7 hours and 12 minutes daily based on Sleep Cycle data, which is an app that tracks night sounds and movement. This number is just a world average. The amount of daily sleep can be different in countries around the globe. On the map, you can see which nations rest the most and which ones the less. Would you like to slumber the most? You should live in New Zealand, but Japan is your place if you are satisfied with a 6-hour snooze.

What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?

You should know what happens if you are sleep deprived

If you’re getting less than eight hours of rest each night, there is a chance you’re sleep-deprived. What’s more, you probably have no idea just how much lack of sleep is affecting you. Sleep deprivation, with common words, is sleeplessness or insufficient sleep.

You may be sleep-deprived if you experience few or the majority of the following symptoms:

  • Need an alarm clock to wake up on time and rely on the snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
  • Feel sluggish during the day
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
  • Feel the need to rest more on weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” – The Dalai Lama

Not just quantity, but quality does matter

It is not enough to focus on the quantity

Try to set up simple rules and create your bedtime routine to fell asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. As a first step, simple adjustments like

  • buying a more comfortable bed or mattresses
  • change bedding, that suit your comfort needs,
  • turn off the gadgets before going to bed (put down that iPad!),
  • switch off the lights or putting a night light on if you’re afraid of the dark,
  • shutting the noise out (you can buy specially designed earplugs if you need to)

will also help.

Some environmental factors affect the quality of our slumber. Still, we can’t adjust them, such as weather or surrounding noise level. There is always a workaround to make things better. Adjust the thermostat to a higher level, or use an air conditioner on hot nights. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, you might think of moving away or simply use earplugs.

It’s up to you to find the way and the perfect conditions to improve your sleep quality. With continuous satisfying sleep, your mental and physical health will be better. You will be focused on every field of your life.

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