How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need Each Night?

Creative Commons License photo credit: !ana mercedes

I am often asked about how much sleep you need each night. Is it 8 hours? Perhaps 7, 6 or even 5 hours is enough? Or do you need an amount closer to 10? In actual fact, none of these amounts are correct. In this article I want to show you exactly how much sleep is enough.

Why “eight hours of sleep” is wrong

The traditional number that is thrown around is “eight”. People have been telling us for years and years that you need eight hours of solid sleep per night in order to feel rested, happy and healthy. In actual fact this is simply not true.

In fact, the phrase “eight hours of sleep” is actually bad for you. Why? Because every day that you wake up and realize that you got less than eight hours sleep you will feel tired, groggy and angry. But it is not your body that is tired – you are telling your body that it should be tired. It is a mental trick.

So how much sleep do I need?

In actual fact it is much more important to get REGULAR amounts of sleep than it is to get a huge amount of sleep. I’m sure all of you out there will agree with me when I say that too much sleep can leave you feeling tired the whole day instead of more refreshed.

Instead of worrying about a set number of hours try and:

  • Go to bed at the same time
    Going to bed at the same time each night will give your body a sense of regularity. Up until about 200 years ago humans went to bed when the sun went down. Not anymore. We go to bed when the best TV program is over. Try to make a new habit.
  • Wake up at the same time
    If you wake up at the same time each day you will be much more likely to wake up fresh. I have met Buddhist Monks in Tibet who get up at 4am but because they do it everyday they are not at all tired.
  • Establish what works for you
    There is no magic number. Some women need 10 hours of sleep or they feel like a zombie. Others only need seven. Experiment and find out what works for you and then try to stick to it.

Remember, if you are a fit and healthy person you will need less sleep. People who are overweight and unfit often experience restless sleep and as such need a lot more of it. A daily workout mixed with a diet high in fruits and vegetables will see you waking up feeling a lot better.

Is there a bare minimum amount of sleep?

Science has shown that sleeping less than six hours a night can actually be dangerous for your health. Your body needs a certain amount of time in order to process information, toxins and other things that go on during the day. Anything less than about six hours and you could be causing problems.