For many people, the demands of everyday life can sometimes make reaching this quota seems rather impossible.
We’ve all heard the old sentiment that we should get at least eight hours of sleep every night. In theory, 1/3rd of our life should be devoted to sleep. But a large chunk of Americans aren’t reaching this number by a long shot.
In fact, nearly 40% of Americans do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep on a regular basis. Granted, many folks will attest that they are completely fine if they only get seven, six or even five hours of sleep per night.
You should note the amount of sleep required can indeed vary from person to person. But with that being said, there are some patterns and similarities when it comes to the amount of sleep we need to perform at our best.
The eight-hour recommendation we have heard about for years does have studies, statistics and science backing it up.
Everyone is Different
Essentially, when it comes to how much sleep a person needs, it all boils down to a bell curve distribution.
The vast majority of people need eight hours of sleep every night to be fully refreshed. The amount of the population that needs less or more than eight hours of sleep dwindles the further you go from this central starting point.
As an example, roughly 75-80% of the population requires at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Less than 10% of the population needs less than seven, or more than nine hours to function properly, and just 1-2% of the population needs five hours of sleep, or 10 hours of sleep, to be refreshed.
So, if you or someone you love are one of those people that believe that a good five hours of sleep every night is all that is needed to be alert and awake, it’s a 1 in 100 chance that this is actually true.
Age is a Factor
Now, there are some other factors to consider to this number, including our age. Our required amount of sleep tends to get smaller as we get older, but this more or less stops changing after we hit our teenage years, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
From about the age of 17 and beyond, the gold standard of eight hours per night still applies, (with a reasonable range of 7-9 hours per night), and it stays at this level well into adulthood.
Keep in mind, too, that if you have sleep apnea, the amount of quality sleep you receive is also inherently less. Because your brain is wide awake throughout the night, even if you get those precious eight hours, you can still tend to feel tired in the a.m.
So aim for those eight hours as much as possible. And if you still feel tired, be sure and get tested for a sleep disorder.
Considering that a much larger percentage of the population may have a sleeping disorder that may actually require more than 8-9 hours of sleep to feel alert, there’s a good chance that while you have the quantity of sleep covered, you may not have the quality.
We Can Help
Want to learn more about to sleep apnea treatments?