The fact the matter is that different individuals require different amounts of sleep. In this article we shall take a brief look at this aspect.
The need for sleep
Sleep is a time when the body is able to completely relax and tissues have an opportunity to rejuvenate. Every person requires a minimum amount of sleep every day that can help them perform any form of activities that they are involved in optimally.
People who follow sedentary lifestyles may not require a great deal of sleep while those who have extremely active lifestyles and are involved in a great deal of physical exertion may require longer duration of sleep.
If adequate sleep is not achieved, individuals may go into what is known as ‘sleep debt’ – a condition where there is an accumulation of hours of sleeplessness that have amassed over a period of time.
How much sleep do we need?
The National Sleep Foundation has recommended different hours of sleep for individuals of different age.
For example, newborns between 0 to 2 months require up to 18 hours of sleep a day.
Toddlers between 1 to 3 years require between 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day.
Teenagers require between 8.5 to 9.5 hours a day while adults over the age of 18 require 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day.
The bottom line with the requirements is that there is no fixed number of hours that each and every person needs to follow when it comes to sleep.
However, there is plenty of evidence that getting adequate amount of sleep every night can help keep an individual alert and maintain optimal physical performance. This sleep pattern must be followed on a regular basis and any deviation from what the individuals normal sleep pattern is can result in sleep debt and an alteration in the normal circadian rhythm.
Problems with lack of sleep
A lack of sufficient sleep and a high sleep debt has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness, an increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease and reduced attention span.
In the short run this may not appear to be worrying but in the long term it can result in a great deal of health problems.
Benefits of getting sufficient sleep
There is no doubt that getting sufficient sleep every night can improve physical performance, mental performance, attention span, mood and body weight.
Sleep is an essential part of our life and must be adequate for each individual. Requirements may vary but evidence suggests that leading a good night’s sleep and sufficient amount of rest can increase creativity and productivity.