How Much Sleep Do I Need ?
Have you been bragging at work lately about how much sleep you’ve been getting? Did you spend 15 minutes bending the ear of your best friend with stories of how much you managed to get done last week because you were nicely rested? Erm, no – me, neither.
Contrary to what our actions may suggest, along with a good chinwag about the weather, everyone DOESN’T love to hear a good sob story about how little sleep we got last night. It really ISN’T interesting to repeat the same phrase ‘I’m knackered – the kids were up twice last night’ or ‘Sorry, I’m just so tired – I didn’t get to bed until gone midnight’.
OK, to be fair, if it is some anecdote about the dog peeing on the bed again, or an owl being stuck in the chimney, then there is some other merit in sharing it with people – you will both have a hearty chuckle (unless you are talking to them from an A&E ward because you tried to get the owl out of the living room with your bare hands). You might even laugh enough to justify the wrinkled skin below your eyes. Not the satisfying surface level skin imprints that come from sleeping on the corner of your duvet for too many hours… continuously. No, the depressing deep folds that have become engrained above your cheeks because you have simply been keeping your eyes open for too long. You almost certainly need more sleep than you’re currently getting.
So, how much sleep do I need each night?
Well, a starting point, I suppose, is to get enough such that your face stops resembling an aerial shot of the Peak District. Not that the overall looks is particularly important, of course, but it’s a good natural indicator of your body’s overall condition. Another one might be if you keep cutting your fingers while trying to poke holes in your ready meal, or you find yourself waking up in strange places – ergo; you have been falling asleep in strange places.
Wake Up Call
Keep a sleepy eye on whether you ever allow yourself to wake up naturally. You can get clocks and CDs and all kinds of things to help you wake up calmly, but simply – do you ever carve out enough time to see how long you COULD sleep…given the theoretical opportunity? It’s worth giving this a go, as you may just realise how much more sleep your body is hankering for than you have been offering.
Another barometer for optimum sleep times is to admit whether you sat binging on Netflix until 2am last night, before moaning about lack of sleep at work this morning. The hard truth is that if you did watch 6 episodes of Breaking Bad once the kids were in bed, sure – you may be tired today – but it doesn’t sound like you could have been that tired yesterday. You might be getting enough sleep after all. But hang on, you were moaning about being tired yesterday too? Oh, OK. In this case, you may actually be in sleep denial; you are generally getting enough sleep but like to give the impression that you’re totes busy all the time, and need the sympathy accrued by whinging to others about lack of sleep. Unbelievable.
OK seriously, Just tell me – How much sleep do I need ?!
Well, most experts are in agreement that the average 25-64 year old person needs 7-9 hours a night. Now, you have to decide if you fall into that category. Depending on your lifestyle, ethos, and individual characteristics, you may adapt to something quite different. Leonardi Da Vinci lived a long and productive life by sleeping for 20 minutes every four hours, while Mariah Carey apparently sleeps 15 hours a night.
Still wondering, ‘How much sleep do I need ?’? – go and get some rest. You can keep searching for the answer tomorrow!
*Chart adopted from National Sleep Foundation website: https://sleepfoundation.org