How much sleep a person needs is very much down to the individual. Some people can get by on 4 hours a night, where as other people can’t function on less than 8 hours sleep. It is important to get the right amount of sleep if you can, so that your body has time to rest and regenerate.
The best way to work out if you are getting enough sleep, is to listen to your body. If you fall asleep easily at night, mostly sleep through until the morning, and wake up feeling refreshed; then you are probably getting enough sleep. But if you can’t sleep or wake up regularly during the night, and feel tired in the morning; then there is a good chance you’re not getting enough sleep, and maybe suffering from insomnia.
How much sleep you need also depends on your age. The list below gives an approximate guide to how many hours a person needs at various stages of their life.
* Toddlers 12/14 hours.
* School age children, 5 to 12 years 10/11 hours.
* Teenagers, 12 to 18 years 9/10 hours.
* Adults 7.5 to 9 hours.
How to Spot the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
There are many reasons why you may be sleep deprived… we all tend to lead such busy lives, that often we cut down on sleep, to get other tasks done. But losing essential sleep can cause health problems in the long-term, along with other negative effects, such as fatigue, lethargy, stress, irritability and concentration.
You may not even realise that you are sleep deprived, but if you are getting any of the signs below, then you’re probably not getting enough sleep.
* Feel lethargic in the afternoon.
* You have to take a nap in the afternoon.
* Get sleepy in warm rooms, while driving or watching TV.
* You need an alarm clock to wake up, and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
* Catch up on sleep at weekends by sleeping later.
How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep.
If you lose a few hours sleep, you can recover from short-term sleep loss, by sleeping an extra hour or two a night. But if you suffer from chronic sleep loss, this won’t be resolved by sleeping in at weekends. Start by having a regular sleep schedule… switch off the TV and computer about an hour before bedtime, then have a warm bath, and relax with a book or listen to soft music. This will give your body a cue to get ready for sleep.
Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time, even at weekends. Make sure your bedroom is a sleep friendly enviroment. Keep TV’s and computers out of the room and fit blackout blinds or heavy curtains at the windows to block out light.
When you’re not following your usual routine… perhaps when you’re on holiday, try to recover chronic sleep loss, by sleeping until you wake up in the morning without an alarm clock. Eventually you’ll recover your sleep loss, and your body will find its natural sleep pattern.