There is always a huge debate when people discuss the subject of how much sleep they need. For some it is a bit of a macho competition for who needs the least sleep. Others’ have to cut back on sleep to manage the amount of work they need to complete. Those who work shifts have other factors that affect how long and when they sleep. Also, some people confuse the sleep they need versus the sleep they can get by with.
It is pretty well established that a good night’s sleep plays an important part in our feeling good and our well-being.
Well Yes and No. There has been a lot of research into the need of the human being to have sleep. The University of California found that there are some people who only need 6 hours sleep a night and function normally. These people only form a small part of the population, about 3%.
In order to function at an optimum level and allow your body to recover correctly, then a good night’s sleep is an important factor in our well-being. The more you cut back on your sleep, the more you will cease to feel energetic and will not operate at your best. Sleep is a fundamental part, like nutrition and exercise that we need to manage to have a good quality of life. Losing just one hour’s sleep a night can affect the way you function. It is also a fallacy that you can make up lost sleep by “having a lie-in” at weekends. Because it is, in effect, disturbing your sleep rhythms you are not helping at all.
The average human takes between 10-30 minutes to actually fall asleep. Despite common misconception, sleep is not a continuous process. We tend to sleep in blocks of deep and near waking. These sleep cycles tend to last about 90 minutes.
For most people, a good night’s sleep will be between 5 and 6 of these sleep cycles. Different ages need differing amounts of sleep. When newly born, babies need anything between 12 and 18 hours sleep a day. This gradually reduces as they grow into children. The average adult needs roughly between 7½ and 9 hours sleep. We all know that teenagers seem to need a lot more sleep, well the reality is that this is true – between 8½ and 10 hours sleep.
One of the most important factors in getting a better night’s sleep is having a routine. So having a regular bedtime, waking up time and having a comfortable place to sleep will all contribute to a more effective lifestyle. In the ideal world, you would let yourself wake up naturally without an alarm clock. However, there is a reality that we all have to get up for work. It is difficult to think that your boss would accept an excuse for being late for work of “well I was just completing my natural sleep cycle”! One great tip is to take a snooze during the day to make up for sleep lost.
It is always advisable to reserve your bed for sleeping in. The use of television, a book to go to sleep with or doing work in bed will not help you. It also helps to avoid alcohol, caffeine, drinking too much fluid and big meals before you go to bed.
Make sure that you have a comfortable bed and mattress. This will vary depending on your size, weight, back problems, amount of exercise you do as part of your lifestyle. Having the wrong bed and mattress will mean that you wake up with aches and pains, have disturbed sleep or have trouble getting to sleep because of lack of comfort. It is not a magic cure in itself, but is an important factor to get right.
If you are tall and your legs hang off the end of the bed, then you are not going to e comfortable and sleep well. We always advise that a bed should be between 4 to 6 inches longer than your body. If 2 of you are sleeping in the same bed, then there needs to be room for you both to be comfortable. Both need to be able to turn over without unduly disturbing the other. Again we advise that if you both lie on your back with your hands behind your head, your elbows should not touch.
Take a look at some of our beds and mattresses to see how FD Beds can help you answer the question “How much sleep do I need” so you get a good night’s sleep at a great price – click here.
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