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Think 6 Hours Of Sleep Is Enough? Here’s Why You NEED More

today10 January 2021


How often have you said or heard a friend say:


“If only I had more time…” or “If there were more hours in the day…”


Of course, there’s nothing we can do to change the number of hours in the day that we have so more often than not, we end up cutting corners where possible in order to chase deadlines and get what we need doing, well, done. The easiest – and most logical way – to do so is to cut down on the amount of time we dedicate to sleep.



However, as it turns out, in trying to cut corners, you’re hastening the process that the detrimental side effects of lack of sleep does to your mental, physical and emotional health in both the long-term and short-term.



Why is sleep important?

“Go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning,” is the human equivalent of “Did you turn if too and turn it back on again?” – it’s the reset that your body needs. After all, failing to get enough sleep affects more than just your ability to keep your eyes open during meetings. A study conducted found that subjects who got six hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight functioned as poorly as those who were forced to stay awake for two days straight. The worst part? Those that were only allowed 6 hours of sleep a night for two weeks did not even realise that their cognitive performance was getting worse by the day. The results are alarming because it shows how little importance people seem to place on sleep.



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Research shows that not getting enough sleep can affect your ability to communicate, solve problems, and recall information. Not only that, the physical manifestations of the effects of a lack of sleep tends to appear in the form of an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. This is because, in the time that you take to sleep, your body is doing what it can to repair, rebuild and refresh any wear and tear you have caused it during the day. It rebuilds the muscles you’ve worn out during the day, removes the toxins that have accumulated in your brain while awake while storing your memories for safekeeping.  On the emotional front, sleep is necessary to regulate your emotions. As it turns out, if you don’t get enough sleep for even one night – you’re increasing your emotional response to negative feelings by 60%.



How much sleep should you be getting?


How much sleep you need to get depends: do you want to survive or thrive? Rule of thumb: you definitely need more than 6 hours of sleep. But, of course, the actual number varies from person to person. After all, we’re all unique in our own needs and our lifestyle choices have a great effect on how much sleep our body needs. On top of that, some genetic mutations make it possible for people with them to function perfectly well with less than the recommended amount of sleep, though this is rare. Even so, generally, the amount of sleep you need per night can be measure and broken down by age group. The National Sleep Foundation recommends:


• Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours

• Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours

Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours



How do you get more sleep?

At the end of the day, it boils down to your dedication to making improvements to your lifestyle.



1. Be consistent.

Consistency is key in setting body clock and ensuring that your circadian rhythm is not disrupted. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends.


2. Set the mood.

Even getting ready to sleep requires the right ambience. Ensuring that your room is dark, quiet, not too cold and not too hot can make all the difference in how easily you fall asleep. Not to mention the removal or break from social media and other electronic devices from your presence before bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you refrain from using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.


3. Tire yourself out.

Of course, this doesn’t mean to the point of collapse – moderation in everything you do is key. Getting some exercise in and ensuring that you’re physically active during the day will make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.


And most of all – pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Don’t let falling asleep at the wheel or excessively trying to stifle yawns during meetings to realise that you need the reset.



*Cover image credits: Instagram 

Written by: Marissa Anne

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today10 January 2021

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