We all know that sleep is important for our health – but how much sleep do you really need? Here are a few factors to consider…
When it comes to sleep, it seems like everyone needs a different amount. Some people complain that they are tired after ten hours of sleep, while others seem to manage fine every day after just five hours. So what causes this difference in sleep patterns and quantity, and how do you know how much sleep you need? The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, so we’ll consider some of the most common in order to help you work out how much sleep you really need.
This is one of the main factors influencing how much sleep you need. Children and young adults tend to need a lot more sleep than adults and older people. School children often need as much as 12 hours of sleep, with young children needing as much as 14 hours per night! (Some health experts have suggested the reason for the apparent increase in attention issues such as ADHD over the past few decades could actually be related to lack of sleep.) You may have found that you need less sleep as you get older, but some adults still feel they need more sleep than they are actually getting.
When you’re ill, you may feel that you want to spend extra time in bed. This is normal, and in many cases, your body actually needs a lot of extra rest in order to recover. If you are experiencing short periods of illness, you should allow your body this extra sleep in order to get better. Some evidence has found that those who have suffered from COVID-19 may need lots of extra sleep to recover – which can be difficult as one of the symptoms of this disease may be insomnia.
However, if you have a long-term health condition, you should speak to your doctor about how best to manage the amount of sleep you need, and also ensure any work you do is able to accommodate your additional sleep needs.
As well as physical health issues, mental health issues can also mean that you need extra sleep. Mental health conditions such as long-term depression can make people feel very tired and fatigued almost all of the time, which impacts the quality of sleep and the quantity needed.
Depending on the job you have, you may need to get a couple of extra hours of sleep every night. Physically tiring jobs such as a laborer or athlete are good examples; however, jobs that are mentally tiring can also cause your brain to need some extra sleep. Getting into a good routine with your sleep pattern can make it easier to get the right amount of sleep that you need.
Ultimately, the amount of sleep that you need depends on many different factors, so each person should pay attention to how you feel throughout the day as well as how much you sleep at night, in order to determine how much sleep your body needs. Speak to your doctor if you are having long-term troubles with sleep or you feel that other factors are influencing your ability to sleep.