Awareness of the importance of high quality sleep is rising, becoming a more commonly discussed issue regarding health and well-being. But how many of us know how much sleep we really need?
With more than 70% of the US high school student population reporting a lack of sleep, and more than 30% among adults and children all over the country, we found ourselves wondering - how much sleep is enough? And how will I know how much sleep I actually need?
While newborns spend up to 17 hours sleeping each day, as we grow older we need less sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from the moment we turn 18, we need approximately 7 hours of sleep per night.
Having said that, the length of your sleep is not the only important component in your sleeping habits. As studies show more and more factors for measuring the quality of sleep, including time spent in each stage of sleep and varied symptoms of sleep disorders (snoring, irregular breathing, etc.)
Much of one’s quality of life and well-being depends on stable factors like genetics, life circumstances, demography, weather and other factors we can’t really do a lot to change. On the contrary, sleeping habits are changeable, as each and everyone of us can choose their own style and personalized routine.
But wait, why should we even want to change any of it? Some of us manage tiredness and sleepiness for a while, not complaining and feeling really well except this minor sleepiness.
Over the years, numerous studies have already shown a significant connection between insufficient sleep and a variety of chronic diseases. Diabetes, depression, obesity and cardiovascular diseases are just a few of the possible bad outcomes.
Diabetes - during the past few years, researchers have found a strong connection between sleep quality and metabolic function & regulation. Lately, there has been progress to show that insufficient sleep increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (lack of sleep and bad sleeping presented with a linkage to high Hemoglobin A1c levels). Therefore, we feel confident recommending you to improve your sleep as a part of your healthy well-being
Obesity - as sleep duration gets shorter and sleep intervals become irregular, metabolic changes turn into an expected result. Data collected by the CDC had presented a correlation between short sleep duration and excess body weight over all age groups and even more significantly among children. In addition, it’s known that sleep has an important role in brain development. Furthermore, sleep disorders affect the hypothalamus, the control center of our brains. Within its functions are body temperature regulation, appetite control and an important role in the hormonal system.
Cardiovascular disease - sleep disorders and in particular sleep apnea, were found as a direct cause of increasing risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, hypertension and stroke. It’s worth mentioning that treatment for sleep apnea allows more and more patients to have a continuous, high quality night sleep, which helps reduce related risks.
Depression - another battlefield of our sleep and body relations is our mental health. Basically, we all know the feeling of being impatient, restless, unfocused or indifferent after a bad night's sleep. Bad quality of sleep, as well as not enough sleep overtime might extend these issues, make them worse and more common. This path can possibly lead to some common mental health diagnosis, including anxiety and depression.