How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need?

The amount of hours that a person need to sleep is a common question. The answer is not a simple number.

Like most things in science, there is a ‘Bell Curve’ to findings. With total sleep time in humans, there is also a Bell Curve distribution of hours of total sleep time.

While the mean total sleep time of adults is about 8 hours, there is much variance on both sides (or tails) of the curve. Some adults only require 6-7 hours. While others require 9-10. That number is that individuals ‘normal’.

We can attribute these findings to genetics. There is connection between families and total sleep requirements.

Regardless of the amount of sleep time that you need, it is important to realize that sleep is a basic biologic need. Like food, water, and air, we all require adequate sleep to be healthy. If we are deprived of sleep, our bodily systems fail.

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Our society has become one that has deprioritized sleep. Work, family, and social obligations have taken first position in many of our lives. Unfortunately, when we don’t get enough sleep, other things in our lives begin to suffer.

Work performance, school performance, mood, and overall health are all connected to the quantity and quality of our short-term and long-term sleep levels.

There are several studies that have demonstrated lower school grades in students who sleep less. Inadequate sleep is also associated with difficulty in managing blood sugars, blood pressure, and weight.

One reasonable way to know if you are getting enough sleep is to assess your daytime alertness levels. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a popular questionnaire that aims to quantify daytime sleepiness. If you score high on this scale, you are probably not getting enough quantity and/or quality sleep.

So, make certain that you get the total sleep time that you need. Your mind, body, job, family, etc. will thank you for it.

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