Sleep: How much to you need?

sleep debt

sleep debt (Photo credit: appratt)

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See Wikipedia:Sleep deprivation). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love to sleep and it is funny to see how much less sleep I need in my 30’s to feel rested.  When I was in my 20’s I felt like I needed so much more, but I think it was not the same quality of sleep that I get now, since I am not getting up several times a night with kids.  This made me wonder more about what the research actually says.  I found out that there is “no magic number” for the amount of time we need to sleep. However, there are two different factors that researchers are learning about: a person’s basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes.

Sleep Debt:

The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a “sleep debt,” which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don’t seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.

Consequences of Too Little Sleep

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep then check out these tips:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake times, even on weekends
  • Start a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
  • Make sure your room is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Get a good, comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

Newborns need 12-18 hours of sleep and this decreases with age.  Ultimately, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

About anitakellam

Wife-Mom-Health Care Provider-Fitness Junky- Gluten/Dairy Free Foody, Aspiring Techno Geek My name Dr. Anita Kellam, DNP, FNP-C. I am a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and maintain a practice in rural Montana. When I was a kid I was a competitive swimmer and even swam at the master's level until I had my first child. I have spent the past 15 years pursuing my professional degrees, raising 3 children and devoting myself to my family. Over the years I saw the pounds slowly creeping up. Once I completed my doctoral degree I made the decision to improve my health and fitness. Beachbody has provided excellent tools that helped me turn my house into a gym. It has been an amazing resource to help me achieve my goals and I am addicted to the products. I would love to help others on their journey to be in the best shape of their lives no matter what age or fitness level. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or like me on my webpage www.anitakellam.com.

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