Waking up feeling rested is an incredible feeling. If we only we could all have the luxury of never setting an alarm clock, falling asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow, and sleeping uninterrupted every single night.
Unfortunately, that is not quite the case. Many people have trouble falling asleep; others are woken throughout the night thanks to neighbours, children or stress. Others still wake up feeling exhausted and spend the day wishing they were back in bed.
When we “owe” ourselves some extra zzz’s, sleep experts call it “sleep debt”. And most people are racking up hours of sleep debt every night. Of course, we’ve all heard that we need 8 hours of sleep a night. But then there are plenty of cases where, whether it’s because of circumstance or preference, people operate on only 5 hours of sleep a night. Or 4 hours. New parents? Heck, they get by with hardly any sleep at all.
So, what’s the answer? Are we oversleeping? Undersleeping? How much sleep do we really need?
The “proper” amount of sleep means that you are rested and that your body is able to function optimally. Most studies show that the amount of sleep you need to feel rested actually depends on your age. Here is a breakdown of age ranges and the corresponding amount of sleep one needs.
- Newborns (0-3 months old): 14-17 hours each day/night
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours
- Children (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17 years old): 8-10 hours
- Young adults (18-25 years old): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64 years old): 7-9 hours
- Seniors (65+ years): 7-8 hours
As you can see, the older we get, the less sleep we need, but not by much. In fact, eight hours still seems to be the magic number to aim for.
If you are one of the millions of people who can’t seem to hit eight hours a night and spend the days feeling groggy or irritable, it’s time to take action. Making sleep a priority so that you rested will have long-term and far-reaching physical and mental health benefits.
To ensure that you are achieving the proper amount of sleep and not building up your sleep debt, take the following steps:
- Create a dark, quiet, comfortable space that you ONLY use for sleeping.
- Turn screens off at least an hour before bed.
- Get into a routine where you start to power down, and do the same thing every night to trigger your body’s sleep cycle.
- Avoid caffeine after 3pm and food at least three hours before you plan to go to bed.
- Make sure you are sleeping on a mattress that is right for you and your body.
If you are concerned that you are not getting the proper amount and quality of sleep each night and are in the White Rock, Surrey or Langley areas, come by WR Mattress. Our sleep experts have helped countless people find their way back to sleep health. We are always happy to help.