News & Facts

How much sleep you really need

With fatigue, we aren’t just fighting for the start of the week. Often, we generally feel dull and not fit all day. But the reason is often not too little sleep, but rather too much.

How much sleep do you need on average to feel well rested and fit the next morning? If it’s about 7 to 8 hours a night, then you’re pretty normal, because the average U.S. adult usually sleeps just as long.

Eighteen scientists from different disciplines have addressed the question of how much sleep at what age is actually advisable and how much more harmful to humans. The findings were published in the current Sleep Journal by the National Health Foundation .

How much sleep is recommended?

It’s interesting that the scientists not only recommend a minimum sleep time depending on age, but also provide a maximum amount of time that should not be exceeded daily, if possible. 

The effect you know for sure even from the weekend: After the long sleep you feel not necessarily awake, but usually even tired, as if you had gotten too little sleep (see: social jet lag ).

For example, the scientists recommend a sleep time of 7-9 hours for the age group 26-64 years, one hour more or less is fine, as long as the person does not experience any significant performance losses and feels sufficiently fit.

Sure, there are people who sometimes differ significantly from those figures, but those who struggle with chronic fatigue and need far more sleep may also suffer from a true sleep disorder. If this is the case, you may want to talk to your doctor.

Real sleep requirement vs. habit

Often it’s just a matter of cosiness and habit when we sleep too much.  Man is well known as a creature of habit and so we talk to us sometimes that we need at least 9 or 10 hours of sleep, although our body would come just as well with 6 hours and we would thereby gain much time for other things.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to make an honest assessment of their own sleep patterns. There are more than enough ways to reduce one’s sleep requirements without being tormented by the rest of life. Research has shown that on average it only takes 21 days to adapt to new or changed habits . So if you are brave for 2-3 weeks, you can permanently reprogram even cosiness like your own sleep duration.

In a nutshell

Scientists have issued recommendations on what sleep duration is recommended at what age. Not only do they warn against lack of sleep , they also show that too much sleep can be harmful.

Those who need significantly more or less sleep than recommended could suffer from a sleep disorder. Anyone who feels tired despite (or even because of) their sleeping habits should consult their doctor if necessary.

It looks different if, for example, a lot of sleep is due to habit. There are effective tips and tricks that can be used to slowly but effectively reduce your sleep duration. On the other hand, those who are already able to cope with little sleep can probably call themselves a happy exception.

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