We’ve all heard the age-old recommendation that 8 hours of sleep is necessary for an alert and productive day. While this is a great guideline, the truth is that every body is different and there are many different factors that play a part in how much sleep our bodies need:
It’s common knowledge that an adult needs more sleep than a newborn, but how much is too much? And how much is not enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends school aged children ages 6-13 get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night due to their high activity level. Teenagers should be getting between 8-10 hours of sleep, while adults need between 7-9 hours. Adults over the age of 65 should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep as well.
Studies have shown that there are major differences in the way men and women sleep. During a month long inpatient sleep study reported by Psychology Today, it was found that women have slightly shorter circadian cycles causing them to feel sleepy an hour before men. Women also spend more time in deep, slow wave sleep than men do allowing for a better sleep in less time.
Athletes and those in more active professions such as teachers, waiters or those in construction generally need more sleep because of the physical demands of their job. Those who are highly active should supplement healthy sleep habits with adequate nutrition to keep their bodies properly fueled.
Signs You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep
While the above are helpful guidelines, only you can know how much sleep your body needs. Signs that you may be sleep deprived include excessive hunger, weight gain, memory issues, impaired motor skills, emotional instability and a decreased immune system. If you’re concerned about your sleep habits, visit a doctor to figure out a solution that is right for you.