Are you sleep deprived? Just how much sleep do you really need? A National Sleep Foundation poll showed that most adults were only averaging 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep during the week and about 7 and a half hours of sleep on the weekend. Since most doctors recommend that adults get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, a large percentage of Americans are considered chronically sleep deprived.
So how much sleep do you really need, and are you getting the recommended amount of sleep for your age and health? Below are just a few of the most important considerations when determining how much sleep you really need every night.
Take a sleep vacation.
If you can, set aside a number of days (up to two weeks) when you go to bed at a consistent time and don’t set an alarm clock. At first, you may sleep longer to pay back your sleep debt, but eventually you’ll settle into a pattern of sleeping a pretty much consistent amount of time each night – usually between 7 to 9 hours. That’s how much sleep you need!
Keep a sleep diary.
Record everything – when you go to bed, if you awaken during the night and, if so, for how long, what time you wake up and any naps you might take. Carefully record how you feel each day when you wake up and at different times during the day. The sleep diary should help you track how much sleep you need and whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl.
Pay attention to your sleep habits.
You’re not going on a sleep vacation and, even when you try, your sleep diary goes days without an entry. Then, pay attention to your body. Note when you feel like going to bed. Be aware of when fatigue sets in. How do you feel when you first wake up? If you listen to your body, you’re going to get a pretty good idea of what your sleeping habits are and what they should be.
Make sleep a priority.
When you learn how much sleep you need to be your best, make it a priority. Instead of trying to stay awake for the late night news or setting your alarm an hour early, adjust your bedtime or waking time to accommodate your body’s need.