How much sleep do you need?
The amount of sleep you get everyday can affect your health in many ways. Brain functions, moods, weight and metabolism is all affected by the sleep patterns. If you know what time you have to wake up and you know the specific amount of sleep to function for best results, you just need to figure out when to go to bed.
Sleeping time often depends on an individual’s social life, work schedule, family obligations and so on. These days binging on new television shows and movies, or spending lots of time on hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets often deprives one from sleep and make us feel tired and dull the next morning.
In this article we will see how to understand how much sleep you need, and learn more about sleep cycles which eventually can affect our health.
Our sleep patterns changes with our growing age, as an infant, a baby will need atleast 17 hours of sleep but as an adult 7 hours of sleep in sufficient.
According to research, an age-based guideline which should be followed is as follows-
- Birth to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours
- 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
- 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours
- 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours
- 18 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours
- 65 years and older: 7 to 8 hours
Bedtimes are based on:
- your wake-up time
- completing five or six 90-minute sleep cycles
- allowing 15 minutes to fall asleep
|Wake-up time||Bed time:|
7.5 hours of sleep
9 hours of sleep
|4 a.m.||8:15 p.m.||6:45 p.m.|
|4:15 a.m.||8:30 p.m.||7 p.m.|
|4:30 a.m.||8:45 p.m.||7:15 p.m.|
|4:45 a.m.||9 p.m.||7:30 p.m.|
|5 a.m.||9:15 p.m.||7:45 p.m.|
|5:15 a.m.||9:30 p.m.||8 p.m.|
|5:30 a.m.||9:45 p.m.||8:15 p.m.|
|5:45 a.m.||10 p.m.||8:30 p.m.|
|6 a.m.||10:15 p.m.||8:45 p.m.|
|6:15 a.m.||10:30 p.m.||9 p.m.|
|6:30 a.m.||10:45 p.m.||9:15 p.m.|
|6:45 a.m.||11 p.m.||9:30 p.m.|
|7 a.m.||11:15 p.m.||9:45 p.m.|
|7:15 a.m.||11:30 p.m.||10 p.m.|
|7:30 a.m.||11:45 p.m.||10:15 p.m.|
|7:45 a.m.||12 p.m.||10:30 p.m.|
|8 a.m.||12:15 a.m.||10:45 p.m.|
|8:15 a.m.||12:30 a.m.||11 p.m.|
|8:30 a.m.||12:45 a.m.||11:15 p.m.|
|8:45 a.m.||1 a.m.||11:30 p.m.|
|9 a.m.||1:15 a.m.||11:45 p.m.|
Stages of Sleep
During a night of sleep we experiences various stages of seep, each cylcle has distinct stages.
The NREM stages used to be classified as stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM. Now, the National Sleep Foundation classifies them this way:
- N1 (formerly stage 1): This is the first stage of sleep, and is the period between being awake and falling asleep.
- N2 (formerly stage 2): The onset of sleep begins at this stage as you become unaware of your surroundings. Your body temperature drops slightly, and your breathing and heart rate become regular.
- N3 (formerly stages 3 and 4): This is the deepest and most restorative sleep stage during which breathing slows, blood pressure drops, muscles relax, hormones are released, healing occurs, and your body becomes re-energized.
- REM: This is the final stage in the sleep cycle. It takes up about 25 percent of your sleep cycle. This is when your brain is most active and dreams occur. During this stage, your eyes move back and forth rapidly under your eyelids. REM sleep helps boost your mental and physical performance when you wake up.
It takes, on average, about 90 minutes to go through each cycle. If you can complete five cycles a night, you’d get 7.5 hours of sleep a night. Six full cycles is about 9 hours of sleep.
Ideally, you want to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle instead of in the middle of it. You usually feel more refreshed and energized if you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle.
Why it is important to sleep?
- regulates the release of hormones that control your appetite, metabolism, growth, and healing
- boosts brain functions, concentration, focus, and productivity
- reduces your risk for heart diseases
- helps with weight management
- maintains your immune system
- lowers your risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- improves athletic performance, reaction time, and speed
- may lower your risk of depression
Tips for better sleep
- Exercise regularly, but try to schedule your workouts at least a few hours before you go to sleep. Exercising too close to bedtime may lead to interrupted sleep.
- Increase your exposure to sunlight or bright lights during the day. This can help maintain your body’s circadian rhythms, which affect your sleep-wake cycle.
- Try not to take long naps, especially late in the afternoon.
- Try to wake up at the same time each day.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in the evening. These substances have the potential to interrupt your sleep, or make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Switch off electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from these devices can stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Get into the habit of a relaxing routine before bedtime, like taking a warm bath or listening to soothing music.
- Turn down the lights shortly before bedtime to help your brain understand that it’s time to sleep.
- Turn down the thermostat in your bedroom. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 65°F (18.3°C) is an ideal sleeping temperature.
- Avoid looking at screens like the TV, your laptop, or phone once you’re in bed.
- Read a book or listen to white noise to help you relax once you’re in bed.
- Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and focus on steady breathing.
- If you’re unable to fall asleep, get out of bed and move to another room. Read a book or listen to music until you start feeling tired, then go back to bed.
A good night’s sleep is essential to good health. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, consider talking to your doctor. They can help determine if there’s an underlying cause.