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How much sleep does a person need to function

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Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more. The good news? The bad news is that short sleepers are rare.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How many hours of sleep do you need?

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How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?

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Gemma Paech does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need.

So, what should the guidelines say? Sleep need can vary substantially between individuals. Sleep is regulated by circadian and homeostatic processes, which interact to determine the timing and duration of sleep.

The homeostatic process represents the accumulation of sleep pressure during wakefulness and the dissipation of sleep pressure during sleep. Both the circadian and homeostatic processes are influenced by internal factors, such as genes , and external factors, such as prior sleep history, exercise and illness. Individual variations in sleep timing and duration can be largely explained by these internal and external factors. But although genes form the foundation for sleep timing and duration, many external factors also affect sleep need.

Perhaps one of the more common causes affecting sleep duration relates to sleep history. Many adults, whether they know it or not, experience sleep restriction, often on a daily or weekly basis. This sleep pressure dissipates within sleep, so higher sleep pressure requires longer sleep duration.

As such, following sleep loss, sleep need increases. Health, exercise, heavy labour, and even mental workload can affect sleep duration. During times of illness, following exercise, or even following periods of mental stress such as exams , the amount of sleep needed to recover or restore back to normal can increase. Likewise, individuals who suffer from disease or who have poor health may need more sleep than their healthier counterparts. Sleep need also varies with age , with elderly people generally sleeping less than younger individuals.

Age-related changes associated with sleep duration are thought to be due to changes in the interaction between the circadian and homeostatic processes. The individual variations in sleep need make it difficult to provide a specific recommendation as to how much sleep adults need. However, most sleep researchers generally agree that seven to nine sleep is what the majority of adults require to function at their best. Sleep restricted to seven hours or less results in impairments to reaction time, decision making, concentration, memory and mood, as well increased sleepiness and fatigue and some physiological functions.

On the other hand, eight hours or nine hours sleep has little impact, either negatively or positively, on performance. This is not to say that more than nine hours sleep is not good. While we may not need ten hours sleep all the time, there are some clear benefits from getting more sleep.

How we feel does not always reflect how badly we may be functioning, which may result in delusions about how much sleep we really need. Critically though, if you have difficulty sleeping for a continuous eight hours , try not to worry too much, as this may make things worse. The amount of sleep need can vary significantly and can depend on multiple different factors, making it difficult to work out optimal sleep need.

Below is a guide that might help to determine sleep need. After a while, you should be able to work out the best timing and duration for your sleep. If you are still unsure or concerned, see your general practitioner. Remember, though — sleep need can change with circumstances, so always listen to your body. York Festival of Ideas — York, York. Festival of Ideas — Hatfield , Hertfordshire. What is Quantum Technology? Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.

Most adults need seven to nine hours sleep to function at their best. Gemma Paech , University of South Australia. Restricting sleep increases sleep pressure. Why eight hours sleep? Needing an alarm clock to wake up suggests you may not be meeting your sleep need. Finding your optimal sleep duration The amount of sleep need can vary significantly and can depend on multiple different factors, making it difficult to work out optimal sleep need.

Keep a diary of your sleep. Sleep Circadian rhythms Explainer.

How much sleep do we really need?

By: Dave Asprey November 13, A study out of the University of California, San Diego paints a different story. The paper suggests the secret to a long life has to do with getting just enough sleep, not necessarily eight hours of sleep per night. Its major finding: Sleeping as little as five hours per night can be better for you than sleeping eight. The study was run by Dr.

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it. Quality sleep — and getting enough of it at the right times -- is as essential to survival as food and water.

Gemma Paech does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need. So, what should the guidelines say? Sleep need can vary substantially between individuals. Sleep is regulated by circadian and homeostatic processes, which interact to determine the timing and duration of sleep.

Why is Sleep So Important?

The amount of sleep that a healthy individual needs is largely determined by two factors: genetics and age. Genetics plays a role in both the amount of sleep a person needs, as well as his or her preference for waking up early these are the so-called "larks," or morning-type individuals or staying up late these are the "owls," or evening-type people. Although our internal clock is set to approximately 24 hours, if your clock runs faster than 24 hours, you tend to be a "lark" and wake up early; if your clock runs more slowly, you tend to be an "owl" and go to bed later. The majority of healthy adults require between 7. This is true from young adulthood through late in life, though many older people have difficulty sleeping in a single block of time each night. Generally, sleep needs during a hour period follow this pattern:. Even without considering genetics and age, the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America poll found that many adults are apparently not meeting their sleep needs, sleeping an average of only 6 hours and 40 minutes during the week, and about 7. Sleep scientists and physicians have a variety of methods to help determine if you are getting enough sleep. Lawrence J. Epstein discusses ways to determine individual sleep needs.

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens. Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways. New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system. Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to both your health and productivity.

Headlines nowadays are filled with information about sleep deprivation killing everything from your productivity to your moods, and with that, the notion of sleep being for the weak has fallen out of vogue. But how much—and how well—do you need to sleep to feel rested, recharged, and ready to tackle all of the challenges an entrepreneur faces in everyday life?

We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping. Because our bodies need sleep to function during waking hours. Although sleep is one of our basic daily needs, more than 60 percent of adults say their sleep needs are not being fully met during the week. Sleep requirements vary from person to person.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need Each Night?

The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.

You might start to plan a coping strategy — maybe three pumps of espresso and an ice cold shower to boot. The U. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the average adult clock in seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but for some people, less is apparently more. Seriously, who runs the world? The eerie thing about people whose bodies are somehow OK with sleeping for less than six hours every night is that, despite the obvious lack of shut-eye, they really don't show any negative side effects. In fact, sleep writer and expert from Sleep Train Kelsey Down says short sleepers thrive off of less than six hours of sleep.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

But how much sleep do we really need? Until about 15 years ago, one common theory was that if you slept at least four or five hours a night, your cognitive performance remained intact; your body simply adapted to less sleep. But that idea was based on studies in which researchers sent sleepy subjects home during the day — where they may have sneaked in naps and downed coffee. Enter David Dinges, the head of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Hospital at University of Pennsylvania, who has the distinction of depriving more people of sleep than perhaps anyone in the world. In what was the longest sleep-restriction study of its kind, Dinges and his lead author, Hans Van Dongen, assigned dozens of subjects to three different groups for their study: some slept four hours, others six hours and others, for the lucky control group, eight hours — for two weeks in the lab.

Find out how much sleep you need at different stages of development to stay healthy “Sleep is important for mental function: alertness, memory consolidation.

The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. While sleep needs vary significantly among individuals, consider these general guidelines for different age groups:. Some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, but their performance is likely affected. Research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.

How Much Sleep Is Enough? How Much Is Too Much?

When you think of what makes up a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise come to mind, but did getting enough restful sleep? Some researchers consider the lack of sleep that many people get to be at epidemic levels. According to the National Institutes of Health , lack of restful sleep causes a long list of issues:. They're listed as ranges because gender has an influence, as well as lifestyle and health.

How can I get enough sleep?

How much sleep do we really need, and what happens if we get too little or too much? We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so you've asked an important question. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep for people over age 64 and seven to nine hours for ages 18 to Kids need more sleep.

Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being.

The short answer: adults need 6 to 9 hours per night. Around 7 to 7. The long answer: it depends. The amount of sleep each person needs depends on many factors, including age, health, recent physical exertion, and mental activity.

If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Sleep is important for health. We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of health conditions, including obesity. It can also lead to accidents.

Most adults need at least seven or more hours of sleep each night. The National Sleep Foundation NSF and a panel of 18 experts combed through more than studies to identify the ideal amount of time a person needs to sleep according to their age:. Although most men and women need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, their sleep patterns are generally different. Women often sleep more than men, and they experience a lighter sleep that is more easily disrupted.

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