The co-author of this article is Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Matsko is a former doctor from Pennsylvania. He graduated from Temple University Medical School in 2007.
The number of sources used in this article is 17. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
We all have repeatedly wanted to get enough sleep. People begin to hear these tips in childhood, when you need to relax in front of the school. Athletes are recommended this before sporting events, other adults - when they are stressed or sick. But what is a "good sleep"? To answer this question, you need to consider many factors, as well as a person’s lifestyle. It is impossible to know what it means to get enough sleep without realizing how many hours of sleep the body needs.
Why sleeping a lot is as bad as a little
Lack of plenty of side effects: from fatigue and loss of concentration to the inability to feel like a person without caffeine over the ears. They are known to anyone who has taken difficult sessions or is too close acquainted with the phrase "tomorrow morning - deadline." However, overfilling is fraught with serious trouble.
An extensive study of Sleep Duration and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies, covering almost one and a half million adults, established an interesting statistical pattern. People who sleep less than 6 hours a day have a 12% greater risk of dying prematurely from any health problems than those who rest for a standard 8 hours. But for those who like to sleep longer than 9 hours every day, the risks of dying ahead of time are even higher - up to 30%!
And the desire to spend more than 8–9 hours in a dream, if it accompanies a person constantly, is a dangerous marker of Self ‐ Reported Sleep Duration and Quality and Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality: A Dose ‐ Response Meta ‐ Analysis of cardiovascular diseases.
In general, sleeping longer is sometimes a good option, of course. But it is better not to flirt and try to keep a dream within certain norms. Moreover, they, these norms, have already been calculated.
How much to sleep to be productive and healthy.
Specialists at the American National Sleep Foundation took this issue seriously. They formed an expert group from among the world's leading scientists - sleep professionals, as well as representatives of the most respected organizations in the field of healthcare: neurologists, psychiatrists, gerontologists, pediatricians ...
For two years, researchers carefully studied scientific publications and reports related to sleep and its effect on the body and well-being. As a result, updated recommendations appeared. How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? concerning the length of rest depending on age.
Here's how much sleep you need to be productive and healthy:
- Newborns (0–3 months) - 14–17 hours.
- Infants (4–11 months) - 12–15 hours.
- Toddlers (1-2 years old) - 11-14 hours.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) - 10-13 hours.
- Junior schoolchildren (6–13 years old) - 9–11 hours.
- Adolescents (14-17 years old) - 8-10 hours.
- Boys and girls (18–25 years old) - 7–9 hours.
- Adults (26–64 years) - 7–9 hours.
- Elderly people (65 years and older) - 7-8 hours.
The scatter in numbers is associated with the individual characteristics of each person. And this is understandable, because the amount of sleep we need depends not only on age, but also on lifestyle, level of activity, and also the general state of health.
However, the boundaries of healthy sleep are still quite categorical. If you sleep more or less than the time indicated for your age group, it is most likely a matter of sleep disturbances - with one or another health effect.
The only way to start getting enough sleep is to try to “fit" the duration of sleep into a healthy frame.
When to go to bed to get enough sleep
Most often, the problem of lack or excess of sleep is caused by two points:
- You cannot go to bed on time.
- You cannot wake up in time.
And if the decision of the first paragraph is largely connected with self-discipline, then in the second case the situation is more complicated. It often happens that, honestly going to bed at 23:00, we wake up when the alarm rings, for example, at 6:30. But at the same time we feel completely broken - although the recommended norm seems to be observed.
The reason is that sleep is a cyclical phenomenon. It consists of 5-6 time periods lasting about 90 minutes https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-you-and-me/201307/your-sleep-cycle-revealed each. At the beginning of the cycle we fall asleep, closer to the middle - we sleep soundly. And by the end, the body is ready to easily wake up - from the alarm signal or, say, sunlight.
Summary: To wake up fast and awake, set the alarm correctly. The time for which it can be started can be calculated independently - for example, using the Lifehacker sleep calculator.
Another option is to use one of the mobile applications that monitor the quality of sleep and wake you up at the right time.
The Importance of Sleep
Healthy sleep is a source of good health and good mood. Providing the brain a good rest, you can permanently preserve youth and beauty, which is sometimes so difficult to achieve with the help of cosmetics. During sleep, a person forgets about pressing problems and is carried away in dreams into the fairy-tale world of illusions.
It is continuous and sound sleep that is so important for the body. If a person cannot fall asleep without sleeping pills, his rest is anxious, and his brain is not relaxed enough, then the next day he will feel overwhelmed and tired, and there can be no talk of the benefits of such a rest. Even irregularly taking sleeping pills, you can soon get insomnia, which you can’t get rid of without the help of a doctor.
Scientists have found that sleep for humans is much more important than food. Indeed, without a good rest it is difficult to hold out for more than two days. A sleepy worker can fall asleep right at the machine at the most inopportune moment or doze off on a desk. It is especially important for a driver to go on a long journey, as his lack of sleep threatens to turn into a disaster.
In order for night rest to bring maximum benefits, you must try to observe the phases of sleep and wakefulness, go to bed and get up on time, and create favorable conditions in the bedroom.
A person's sleep can be slow and fast, with the stages being repeated several times during the night. With the onset of a new phase, a certain part of the brain is activated, and the part that worked now rests.
Slow sleep is divided into several stages.
- Half asleep, nap. It is characterized by a decrease in muscle activity, a decrease in the number of heart beats, and a decrease in body temperature.
- Shallow. The process of slowing down the work of muscles and the heart continues.
- Slow. The body is completely relaxed and begins to regain strength.
- Deep slow. All body systems are completely relaxed, the body rests and recovers.
Thanks to the last two stages, the awakened person feels completely rested.
REM sleep for the first time occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep. Despite the complete relaxation of the muscles, the activity of brain cells during the course of this phase is the same as during human wakefulness. The body temperature is increased, the pulse is quickened, the eyes under the eyelids move quickly. Having entered the stage of REM sleep, a person begins to dream.
With the help of scientific research, it was proved that night rest should consist of five cycles, in each of which 85% of the time is devoted to slow sleep and 15% to fast. All phases are interconnected and necessary to restore the brain activity of the body.
How much sleep to sleep?
Today, in the age of rapid speeds, when any delay in “death is like”, people are more and more interested in the question of how many hours should be spent on rest in order to fully recover and not spend too much precious time ..
Somnologists argue that for a full night's rest, five continuous cycles of changing the slow and fast phases are enough.
The length of the cycle is about 90 minutes - which means that sleep should last at least 7-8 hours.
If a person goes to bed at ten in the evening, then in the morning he should wake up at about six. These figures are approximate values and for each individual person are purely individual. History knows people who could sleep only three hours a day and at the same time did an excellent job with their duties. But this is an exception, and it is very difficult for an ordinary person to do without 6-8 hours of continuous sleep.
The following factors affect the duration of sleep.
- Floor. Women should sleep 30-50 minutes longer than men. Scientists explain this with features in the work of the nervous system in women.
- Age. It has long been known that the smaller the person’s age, the more he sleeps. So, a baby in total can oversleep more than 16 hours a day, and an elderly person needs only 5-7 hours.
- Food. The composition of the food affects the duration of sleep and the speed of falling asleep. If a person prefers dishes with a small percentage of fat content, then he falls asleep easier, and sleeps harder.
- Physical exercise. A person who performs hard physical work in the fresh air during the day will fall asleep without difficulty and sleep for 8-10 hours without a break.
There are many other factors that influence the duration of sleep. Therefore, if a person has enough 5 hours to feel awake and rested, do not try to oversleep for another three hours, laid by the norm.
Why didn’t the person sleep?
It happens that, after sleeping for 8 hours, a person wakes up bruised and not rested. Indeed, there are many factors that affect the quality of sleep, the neglect of which provokes lack of sleep.
- Mode. Specialists in the field of sleep recommend adhering to a certain regimen - to go to bed and wake up at the same time. In no case should you replace a night's sleep with a day's rest.
- Stress. The quality of sleep is greatly affected by the mental state of a person. Constant stress and nervous breakdowns, turmoil at work and chronic fatigue make rest restless and intermittent.
- Improper behavior at bedtime. Drinking alcohol or energy drinks, loud music, dancing or sports exercises do not contribute to a good rest during a night's sleep.
- Ecology. Bad ecology weakens the human body, so it needs more hours to sleep.
- Rest in the wrong time. Lunch is considered beneficial, but if you take a nap for a couple of hours in the evening, you can stay awake at night.
Thus, it is clear that usually a person is to blame for his lack of sleep. If sleep deprivation occurs frequently and is detrimental to a person’s life, the causes of poor sleep should be eliminated and the time for rest should be increased.
What is the danger of lack of sleep?
For an ordinary person, it is enough to sleep 6-8 hours a day. If every day this time is steadily reduced and 4-5 hours are given for rest, chronic sleep deprivation may occur. Many people believe that during the working week they can afford to sleep no more than five hours, go to bed at about three in the morning and get up at seven. And at the weekend you can sleep off all day without leaving your bed.
This assumption is erroneous. Thus, it is not only impossible to restore the expended energy, but it is also easy to earn a serious illness called “sleeping bulimia”.
Chronic lack of sleep causes dangerous changes in the body:
- immunity decreases
- working capacity and attention concentration decrease, memory worsens,
- there are various diseases of the heart and blood vessels,
- headaches appear
- in men, testosterone levels fall, the stomach grows, diseases of the genitourinary system are frequent,
- trying to make up for the lack of energy, the body’s cells store calories from food in reserve, so often with lack of sleep obesity occurs,
- insomnia and depression develop.
The main danger of chronic lack of sleep is in the violation of biological rhythms. Each organ of the human body works periodically, alternating phases of rest and activity. All chemical reactions occurring in the human body depend on biorhythms. Therefore, a violation of the quality and duration of sleep leads to serious diseases.
Sometimes it is possible to cope with lack of sleep on our own, changing the regime of the day and creating the conditions necessary for a good rest. But most often, such patients have to turn to specialists.
So, if you follow the advice of somnologists, an ordinary healthy person should sleep at least 8 hours at night and take a nap at least half an hour during the day. Observing such a regime, it will be possible to remain active and energetic throughout the day, maintain high efficiency and concentrate attention.
How much a person needs to sleep per day in order to restore strength depends on age, gender, state of health, physical and emotional stress. The norm of sleep for an adult is 8 hours, the same amount is taken to work, rest. Adhering to such rules, they achieve the normal functioning of internal organs, systems, it also helps to avoid chronic diseases. But, as practice shows, not everything is so simple.
How many hours do you need to sleep
How much a person should sleep at different ages depends on mental, physical activity. In a dream, the body recovers, cells are updated, the nervous system calms down. The more energy spent per day, the more you need to relax. The rate of sleep for a teenager is different from young children and adults. Less time is needed for older people to recover.
In addition, the individual characteristics of the body are taken into account: with an accelerated ability to regenerate cells, an adult can sleep for 4 hours in a knock, feeling wonderful all day. These unique people were Guy Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Napoleon Bonaparte, Margaret Thatcher. But Einstein with his mental abilities needed at least 12 hours for a good rest.
Daily allowance for a teenager
Infants sleep 20 hours a day, preschool children - 12, adolescents need 9-10 to feel good. In this case, the role of how active the child is, physical, mental, emotional stress during the day.
On weekdays you need to sleep 9-10 hours, on weekends you can sleep. It is not considered a pathology if a week a teenager gets up at 7 am, going to bed at 21.00, and on weekends rests until 10.00. How much time is required to replenish the energy potential of a student, a primary school student, high school students, depends on their workload during the day.
Students with an average level of academic performance get much faster sleep. Excellent students, in order to sleep off, need 2 hours more.
There are certain standards. It is useful to sleep so that after waking up there is no feeling of fatigue, fatigue, there is no depressive mood. Average values remain in the range up to 10 hours per day.
Sleep Duration for an Adult
According to experts, the norm for an adult per day is 8 hours. At the same time, as in the case of adolescents, take into account the level of physical, mental workload. It takes longer to recover energy after enhanced mental activity than with physical fatigue. The dream period is extended to 10-12 hours.
The maximum amount of time to sleep off is required for people engaged in mental work, a minimum of rest is necessary for men after 55 years. American scientists conducted studies, according to the results of which they announced that a woman needs to sleep 20 minutes more than how much a man rests at her age. If at 30, the husband rests for 8 hours, the wife should sleep until 8.20.
How much sleep per day for an elderly person
Minimum time for sleep is required for people over 60 years old. A feeling of drowsiness appears with the onset of darkness. They go to bed no later than 22.00, in the winter - 20.00. The duration of night sleep is not more than 6 hours, and this is the norm for a given age.
How much a man needs to sleep at an age depends on his physical activity, the same applies to women. In older people, the rise occurs at 4 in the morning. However, a feeling of fatigue quickly occurs during the day. It takes at least 30 minutes to rest. The rules of a healthy regimen are to prevent sleep deprivation, and not to sleep longer than 8 hours.
The most useful time for sleeping
Sleep duration is not the most important factor to feel healthy, energetic. The time at which a person goes to bed plays a role.
Experts say that during sleep until 24.00 the nervous system is restored, the psycho-emotional background, the brain is resting.
Until midnight, hormones are produced that are necessary for the full functioning of absolutely all systems in the body. Each person needs to go to bed until 24.00 at night, if time is lost, in the morning there will be a feeling of fatigue, weakness.
Sleep during the day: needed or not
Daytime sleep is able to make up for energy shortages, reboot the system, increase efficiency. How much to sleep depends on several factors. При ощущении усталости достаточно поспать всего 5 минут, а сон в течение получаса заменит 2 часа ночного отдыха.
В идеале ребенку нужно спать 1-3 часа днем, в зависимости от возраста. Больше времени на восполнение энергии требуется дошкольникам. Старшеклассникам же следует отдохнуть после уроков всего 15-30 минут.
Дневной отдых для взрослого – роскошь. But if you can sleep even 5 minutes, a person will feel a surge of strength, energy. This mode prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases, normalizes metabolism, hormonal levels. Dreams also dream during the day, go through the same stages as at night.
Lack of sleep or overfilling - how much to sleep
A full sleep with the most severe fatigue should not exceed 12 hours. If a person is napping for a long time, an excessive amount of sleep hormone - melatonin - is secreted. Daytime drowsiness, headache, dizziness, depression, decreased ability to work, and distracted attention appear.
With a lack of sleep, people feel almost the same. In the first place are autonomic disorders, impaired brain activity. There is irritability, aggressiveness, decreased concentration, attention, memory impairment. A person is unable to make important decisions, to cope with tasks.
When to go to bed
The duration of sleep is calculated by specialists based on its structure. Every night, the human body goes through a slow, fast phase of dreaming. Initially, drowsiness occurs with a decrease in the activity of brain activity, the cardiovascular system. Dull attention, perception of information.
Slow sleep goes through 4 stages - falling asleep, shallow sleep, moderate, deep. Presumably, all these processes last 1.5-2 hours.
During this time, energy costs are restored, the body rejuvenates. Awakening is problematic, undesirable. If a person is woken up at this time, he will be like a squeezed lemon all day long.
The fast phase lasts 15-20 minutes. Brain activity is similar to wakefulness, but the body is completely relaxed. Awakening is easy, does not adversely affect the condition, since the body has already managed to gain strength. During the night, 6-8 repeating cycles take place. A person can quickly fall asleep, and then wake up in the middle of the night when the fast phase ends. If you stay further in bed, a nap will again follow, falling asleep.
The young man needs to go to rest no later than 22.00. If you want to get up at 5.00 in the morning, you should fall asleep at 21.00. How many hours a child sleeps - about 12, and on this basis, you need to count the time when to put him in bed.
How much do you need to sleep
Rest from active brain activity is the main task of sleep. At least you should sleep 4 hours, but be sure at a certain time - go to bed no later than 23.00. Duration does not play a special role if you go to bed after midnight. The most important time is lost.
How many people sleep depends on the energy costs of the past day, and the state after awakening - on the future. If it is necessary to solve important issues, the brain will not perceive the information in full, therefore, a person will not be able to orient. If you spend a new day relaxing in nature, in a pleasant company, there will not be much discomfort. In general, you need to sleep at least so much that you can clearly think during the day. For each, this figure is different and is determined empirically.
How to organize a healthy sleep
In human life, sleep is more than half of all time. There is an opinion that all the most interesting people wake up. But this does not mean that if you shorten the period of rest, life will seem brighter. It is important to get enough sleep, gain strength, replenish energy potential.
Conditions for a good rest:
- go to bed no later than 22.00,
- eliminate noise, do not surf the Internet just before bedtime,
- ensure darkness in the room, without indicator lights, lights, street lights,
- to fall asleep quickly, it is recommended to drink a glass of warm milk, chamomile tea, take a bath,
- choose a comfortable pillow
- it is advisable not to sleep on the right side, stomach,
- wake up no later than 8.00, otherwise the symptoms of over-filling will begin.
Proven sleeping pills before going to bed - sex. The body, the nervous system are relaxing, and nap comes faster.
Violation of night sleep is manifested by insomnia, drowsiness during the day. The human body lacks energy, cannot fully compensate for the costs of systems, deviates from the norm. This leads to somatic pathologies, health problems.
The consequence of a wrong lifestyle:
- nervous disorders
- chronic fatigue,
- headache, migraine,
- change in blood pressure, hypertension,
- digestive problems
- overweight or excessive weight loss,
- hormonal imbalance,
- decreased libido
- decreased immunity
- menstrual irregularities,
- heavy dreams, nightmares.
The normal duration of sleep was established on the basis of multiple observations, studies. If you deprive your body of proper rest, the protective reaction decreases, the risk of developing chronic diseases, an oncological tumor increases.
Sleep is a mandatory and irreplaceable process in and in the life of any person. With its help, rest of both body and consciousness is carried out. But, many complain that it is impossible to relax in this way. Most likely, the reason lies in the fact that some simply do not know the rules for effective sleep.
Is effective sleep important?
Of course, it is important for any person. Those who get enough sleep, have greater productivity, feel happier and rarely get sick.
Bad sleep provokes many unpleasant consequences:
- fast fatiguability,
- cardiovascular diseases,
- the development of insomnia and other sleep disorders,
- deterioration of appearance (early wrinkles, bruises and bags under the eyes),
- decreased testosterone in men,
- memory and health impairment,
- decreased immunity.
Do not think that if you do not get enough sleep for a long time, you can easily make up for the lack of sleep. It happens that the body gets used to the fact that it is given very little time to rest. And he doesn’t allow himself to rest anymore. Because of this, serious sleep disturbances develop. Therefore, try to get enough sleep when possible.
Each person can be individual, but there is a range that includes the number of hours for normal sleep - this 6-9 hours. During this time, a person is able to sleep well. The only exceptions are any diseases and specific conditions of the organism, when more hours are needed, and this is confirmed by examining specialists.
Paradoxically, if you sleep for more than ten hours, during the day you can feel like you haven’t slept all night. This happens because the body rests longer than it should be, and becomes lethargic and lethargic.
The number of hours of sleep for women and men
A healthy man is able to sleep in about 6-8 hours. Given that women have a stronger emotional load, it is better for them to sleep for 7-9 hours. A pregnant woman should not rest in a dream for less than 8 hours. Since fears and experiences provoked by the birth of a new life in the body are added to innate emotionality, 8 hours is minimum rate for sleep.
What time do I go to bed
If you claim that you sleep at least eight hours, but when you wake up you feel tired, most likely you are choosing the wrong time for sleep.
The most effective sleep begins at seven in the evening. Further, with every hour, its effectiveness is waning. It turns out that a dream at five or six in the morning has practically no special value.
Surely, you have heard about "owls" and "larks". It turns out that the “larks” sleep in the most productive hours, and the “owls” - on the contrary. But, "owls" manage to feel great. Therefore, if you belong to this category and early rises badly affect you, you should not try to fix the regime.
Another important condition is sleep should be continuous . Even if you slept as much as ten hours, waking up several times during this time, you are unlikely to feel very well after waking up. Even if you sleep only six hours, but at the right time and without interruptions, your health in the morning will be many times better than in the first case.
It is worth noting that if you want to take your productivity to a new level, you need to wake up at an earlier time. And, of course, you should not go to bed late either. If you realize that you don’t have time and get tired quickly, try to go to bed at ten in the evening and wake up at six in the morning. If you do this for a week, you will notice sharp and rather positive changes.
If you still can’t get enough sleep
So, the reason lies in factors that sharply negatively affect the sleep process. Must be observed some rules before going to bed:
- The main one is not to try to fall asleep in an excited state. Therefore, an hour before the rest, do not turn on the music loudly and do not be active.
- The use of any gadgets can adversely affect sleep. You should not use a laptop, a TV, a tablet, or even a phone right in front of him.
- You should go to bed in a slightly cool and ventilated area. A night's rest in a hot and stuffy room will not be effective.
- If you were addicted to coffee, cigarettes and alcohol during the day, and especially at bedtime, you are unlikely to be able to get a good night's sleep.
- A night's rest will not succeed even if you ate right before you go to bed. In this case, the body will be passionate about digesting food, and he will not have time to rest.
- Waking up also needs to be done correctly. Lying in bed for long after the alarm rings is a bad idea. You need to get up immediately and sharply, so as not to provide yourself with lethargy for the whole day.
- Sleep after dinner should only be in extreme cases and no more than two hours, so as not to disrupt the night regime.
- A little about sleep mode - it must be observed. Try to go to bed at about the same time.