How much sleep do you need 1
How much sleep do you need?
Sleep is important for the body and mind - this applies to humans as well as to all other living beings. Even the otherwise busy fruit flies are asleep, as various studies have shown. But why do some people get by with significantly less sleep than others? And how much sleep do you need anyway? As we are going to show you in this article, the answer to this question actually varies from person to person.
Sleep facts: While there are types of mice that sleep an average of 20 hours a day, elephants spend just two hours of their day doing it. We humans overslept a third of our entire life.
How much sleep do you need - what does that depend on?
Our need for sleep depends on various biological and social factors. Like all other living beings, we humans function according to a natural pattern: the so-called circadian rhythm. You can imagine it like an internal clock in your head. Depending on the position of the pointer on this watch, your body regulates various functions in a 24-hour rhythm. So does your need for sleep.
In addition, our body releases various messenger substances that control the sleep-wake cycle. This includes, above all, the sleep-promoting substance adenosine. The longer you are awake, the higher the concentration of adenosine in your body and your need for sleep - or sleep pressure - increases. During sleep, the substance is broken down again and you start the new day awake.
You are probably also familiar with another antagonist of adenosine: namely, caffeine. This is why coffee or mate are effective in the afternoon, but they can delay falling asleep or staying asleep at night.
Different clocks do not strike the same!
Our genetic makeup already determines whether we tend to be evening people (owls) or morning people (larks). Our society is more geared towards the rhythm of the latter. It starts with the early morning start of kindergarten or school and continues in many areas of working life. The owl types are therefore usually deprived of more sleep.
Long and unregulated working hours such as night work also conflict with our circadian rhythm. If we then want to meet friends or pursue hobbies, we often start to save on sleep.
According to a study by the Techniker Krankenkasse, every fourth person in Germany sleeps too little.
How much sleep do you need in the course of your life?
In addition to the factors mentioned above, like many other things in life, the optimal length of sleep also changes as you get older. In addition, it not only depends on the length of sleep, but also on the quality of sleep. If you fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night for six hours, you will probably feel better the next day than another person who counts sheep for an hour before falling asleep and just nodding off for eight hours.
So one thing is certain: It is not possible to answer the question "How much sleep do you need?" general answer.
But there are recommendations: In 2015, the US National Sleep Foundation published a corresponding study on the subject. Your recommendations for the optimal length of sleep are based on an average value obtained from many different scientific studies.
The researchers also emphasize that sleeping too long can be just as detrimental to well-being as sleeping too short.
How much sleep do you need - The optimal length of sleep
These recommendations are a rough guide to how much a person sleeps on average. The decisive question, however, is "How much sleep does it take?" man? ”Rather than“ How much sleep do you need you? ”. In order to find an answer for you, it may help you to ask the following questions:
- Can you last until noon without caffeine?
- Would you wake up on time without an alarm clock?
- Can you stay focused even during longer work without closing your eyes?
- Wouldn't you sleep more on days off than on a work day?
If you can answer “yes” to them, then you have found your optimal sleep duration.
What happens if you don't get enough sleep?
Basically, you don't have to worry if you don't sleep well or if you sleep according to the recommendations above. There can be many reasons for this, some of which will pass as quickly as they came. We have summarized a few of them for you in our article on “I can't sleep”. In addition, our body has the great ability to compensate for lack of sleep, at least in the short term.
However, that doesn't mean that we can simply save on sleep. Not only our well-being suffers. Even after a sleepless night we are unfocused and less productive.
It is assumed that at least one in five traffic accidents in Germany is due to fatigue at the wheel.
What to do if you have trouble sleeping
As soon as sleep problems occur regularly and you have the feeling that you are not able to live up to your optimal sleep duration for a long time, it is advisable to urgently seek medical or psychological advice. Not only does your mental well-being suffer as a result, but your body can no longer rest either. Persistent sleep problems, for example, increase the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases and weaken the immune system in the long term. Do not hesitate to seek help and get treatment for your sleep disorder.
To tackle sleep problems, you can find a few more tips in our blog on how you can sleep better again or how yoga can improve the quality of your sleep. At HelloBetter, we have also developed effective online sleep training, which can help you recover and calm down.
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