How Much Sleep Do We Need?
As life gets busier and busier, more and more of us are telling ourselves that six hours of sleep a night is enough to function. Some of us work into the night to meet deadlines, or get up before dawn to do housework because our schedules are so packed. It seems like it makes sense, after all, too much sleep is just laziness, right?
Well, no. Sleep is actually essential, not an optional extra and we need at least seven to eight hours a night in order to function at our best every day. A chronic lack of sleep – regularly getting less than seven hours – can lead to low productivity, weight gain, irritability and even mental health problems, as well just feeling dead tired.
Why do we sleep, anyway?
While you’re sleeping, you’re not just “off”, you are, in fact, performing a bewildering range of biochemical maintenance tasks that keep your mind, body and emotions on top form. Without enough decent sleep, you won’t be as creative, mentally sharp and physically strong as you could be.
If you feel that you have to skimp on sleep to get things done, you’re actually making a false economy. Just increasing your sleep quota by an hour a night will probably make you more energetic, focused and efficient than you were when you were staying awake too long.
It‘s quality as well as quantity
You don’t just need to sleep for seven or eight hours, you need to have deep, restorative sleep and modern life isn’t conducive to this! Too many people fall asleep in front of a TV or with a mobile phone in their hands and this can affect the deepness of the slumber, leading to a feeling of fatigue and confusion.
If you want to improve the amount and quality of your sleep, you should avoid computers and mobiles for at least an hour before going to bed – the light emanating from them confuses the brain into thinking it’s daytime. You could also introduce yoga or mindfulness into your daily routine to help you to really unwind, making sure you get the rest you really need.
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