Eight hours nightly has long been held as the optimal amount of sleep to ensure waking up feeling rested and rejuvenated the following morning. For many, this has become a rule by which they schedule their sleep cycles or strive to implement into their schedules. So, is the old adage true? Do our brains and bodies require eight hours nightly to focus and work properly?
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Below, we'll take a look at the eight hour rule and what modern sleep research has to say on how much sleep we truly need.
Myths Vs. Reality
It is well acknowledged that getting comfortable and adequate sleep is imperative in performing certain brain and body maintenance and that sleep deprivation can have a variety of detrimental effects on overall health and lifespan. However, neuroscientist Chelsie Rohrscheib stated in a recent article for Quartzy that the amount of sleep needed varies from individual to individual depending upon certain genetic precursors.
So, as with most individual variables, such as weight and height, the amount of sleep each of us need to focus and function properly throughout the following day is subjective.
Based upon these genetic factors, individuals can be placed into two categories; 'long sleepers' and 'short sleepers'. Long sleepers may need as much as nine to ten hours of sleep, whereas short sleepers may only require six to seven hours nightly.
Rohrscheib does note a genetic variation that can lead to needing less than six hours nightly, but stresses this is an exception to the rule and is an extremely rare circumstance.
On average, Rohrscheib says, we need between seven and nine hours of sleep per evening. This means that the median of sleep needed would be eight hours, but this should be treated more as a guideline than a rule.
How much time you should nap during the day, if napping is a good practice at all, is another often-debated area of sleep science.
Short ten to twenty minute naps are promoted by most sleep scientists. This amount of time allows you to cycle through the first stages of sleep to regain wakefulness while not entering the third phase of sleep which can cause grogginess upon waking and affect the sleep cycle at night. These short naps can provide increased alertness, performance, and boost your mood.
How Much Sleep Should You be Getting?
It is important to note that age and health are major contributors to how much sleep is needed nightly.
For healthy adults, anywhere between seven to nine hours is recommended. From there, however, how much sleep is needed is somewhat subjective. So, what's the best way to determine how many hours of rest you need to function at your best? Sleep expert Crystal Grant says that paying close attention to the way you feel as far as energy, mood, and overall wellness can help you determine if you're getting enough rest.
If you feel fatigued, like you need to nap more than ten to twenty minutes, or need a caffeine boost, chances are you're not sleeping enough at night. The most important part of sleeping better, Grant says, is making your sleep a priority.
Regardless if you are a short or long sleeper, one of the best ways to ensure that you're getting your best rest is with cozy bedding and a comfortable mattress. Visit Land of Sleep in person or online today for the perfect mattress or bedding to help you rise and shine ready to conquer the day!