The subject of sleep is often a great topic of discussion. You have probably heard that sleep is one of the most important parts of your life, and that most people spend one third of their life sleeping. While you might think this much sleep is colossal waste of time, you should consider the many benefits of a good night of sleep, and also understand the negative impacts of sleep deprivation.
Recommended Daily Hours
Most of the research will tell you that the body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than this recommended amount of sleep will cause the body to go into a sleep debt. The quantity of sleep should not override the quality of sleep however. Waking up frequently or lying restless in bed does not allow the body to go into the deep sleep it needs.
The number of hours of sleep depends on the age of the person too. Newborns and infants need the most sleep, which is about 12-16 hours a day. Teenagers and young adults can benefit from having an average of 9-10 hours of sleep per night. Adults fall into the standard 7-8 hour range.
The Benefits of Quality Sleep
People that get the recommended amount of quality sleep tend to have energy to last all day. They are more focused and alert, more productive, make better workers and co-workers, and tend to live longer and healthier lives.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
When a person fails to get the proper amount of sleep they need on a daily basis, they begin to accumulate a deficit and start experiencing sleep deprivation. The effects of sleep deprivation are many.
A person’s personality can change dramatically from a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation causes bad moods, irritability, crankiness, and depression.
People without the right amount of sleep have a lack of energy and have trouble starting or finishing tasks. The quality of their work is diminished as well.
Other Health Problems
Studies have shown that people who suffer from long term sleep deprivation can shorten their natural life span. The inability of the body to repair itself can cause people to easily get sick from common illnesses like the cold or flu, and they tend to remain sick for longer periods of time. It is even believed that weight loss or gain can be attributed to sleep habits too.
What Happens During Sleep?
Do you ever wonder what your body does during sleep, or why your the body even needs sleep? The body needs downtime to repair itself from all of the day’s activities. Broken down muscle tissue gets a chance to repair itself, as well as some of the other major organs of the body. None of these things can happen unless the body goes into REM sleep. REM stands for “rapid eye movement,” and it’s the deepest stage of sleep the body can get to. It is in this stage that the body gets the deep rest that it needs to grow and repair. The quantity of sleep doesn’t matter if the body does not experience REM sleep. Some people can function normally on a few hours of sleep if they are able to quickly fall into REM sleep and stay there for most of the time.
What If You Aren’t Sleeping Right?
There are many things you can do if you aren’t sleeping well. The first thing you can do is examine the quality of mattress you sleep on. You get what you pay for when it comes to mattresses. Most quality mattresses only last an average of 8-10 years before you should consider a new one. Tempur type mattresses receive great reviews from their customers, and could also be a viable option.
Some people will benefit from seeing their doctor or a sleep specialist that can monitor their sleep patterns over a one or two night period in order to make recommendations, prescribe medication and more.
The Bottom Line
The amount of sleep a person receives is essential to how they conduct their daily activities when they are awake. As previously mentioned, the amount of sleep varies for each person, and the quantity of sleep isn’t as important as the quality of sleep. Sleep is also a big business filled with advertisements suggesting to people the best choices in mattresses, the right medications to take and any other aids that can help people with their sleep. If you are curious about how much sleep your body needs, consider doing a series of trials to see the number of hours of sleep that benefit you the most.