Is the length of my sleep enough?
Any person, when asked, would most likely want to get a decent amount of sleep every night; it’s just that their responsibilities won’t permit them. For working adults, getting 7-9 hours of sleep can sometimes feel like a crime especially when you have so much on your plate.
Convincing oneself that a five-hour sleep is enough is one of their ways to cope with it, but is it really enough? In this article, we will explore how much sleep you should have and the factors it depends on.
At my age, how much sleep should I get?
Sleep is age-specific and following the advisable number of sleep hours will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and guard yourself against certain diseases.
The National Sleep Foundation, in 2015, published “new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations” for different age groups. This is after a thorough discussion with different American organizations composed of sleep experts.
Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64): 7-9
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
What if I only have five hours of sleep every night?
None from the recommended sleep duration above has listed less than seven hours of sleep, which means that sleeping for five hours every night is already counted as sleep deprivation. Although you can still perform well with that amount of rest during daytime, there are still several health problems that you might experience.
There are a lot of causes of sleep deprivation; you might be voluntarily getting insufficient sleep due to work or because you like to binge-watch your favorite TV series. Lack of sleep can also be brought by medical conditions, diet, and other known factors. Whatever reason there could be, you should consult a doctor if you notice some alarming changes in your sleeping pattern.
What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation?
When you are sleep deprived, you will usually fall asleep untimely and have a feeling of grogginess or drowsiness most of the time. If you’re working, it will be really hard to focus on what you’re doing or what your boss is saying during a meeting.
Here are other symptoms of sleep deprivation:
- lack of concentration
- lack of motivation
- reduced sex drive
- increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings
If you notice these things happening to you most of the time, then you have to pay your ‘sleep debts’ to avoid further mental and physical health problems.
What will happen to me if I always lack sleep?
Your body uses your sleep time to grow tissues and repair body cells. Sleep can also improve your memory, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressure. As much as adequate sleep can affect your health positively, the lack of it can negatively impact your body.
Here’s what can happen when you continue being sleep deprived:
- Weak immune system
- Memory problems
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
- Skin ageing
- Stronger feelings of pain
- Heart diseases
- A lower sex drive
- Weight gain
- Faulty decisions
At some point in your life, you will be required to cut some sleep time to accomplish something and deliver the best. While this may be inevitable, you should keep an eye on how sleep deprivation is affecting you.
What should I do to have a healthy amount of sleep?
In this fast pacing world, having a good sleep seems to be a luxury. While some people can still manage to their best despite being sleep deprived, having a sufficient amount of rest should never be taken for granted.
If you want to have healthy sleeping routine, worry not because you can still do something to improve the kind of sleep you have by doing the following tips:
- Have a consistent sleep schedule.
- Calm yourself down before going to bed.
- Avoid afternoon naps or sleeping during daytime.
- Exercise regularly.
- Make your bed comfortable.
- Turn your lights off at night.
- Avoid eating heavily before sleeping.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks before bedtime.
- Cut off your screen time before going to sleep.
- Use ear plugs when noise distracts you from falling asleep.
- Read a book to help you fall asleep.
- Imagine calm pictures in your head.
- If sleep problems still persist, consult a physician.
Discipline also plays a very important role in having a quality sleep. As you grow older, your sleeping patterns change in relation to your responsibilities. For parents, sleep would be difficult especially when they are taking care of newborn babies while teenagers would be sleep deprived due to schoolworks. Either way, you should give yourself adequate amounts of rest because success would be of no use if your health declined due to bad habits.