Training

How Much Sleep Do I Need? | Consequences & Recommendations

Written by Lee Alan Donaldson


Sleep Awareness


We should all know by now that the recommended hours of sleep per day for the average adult is somewhere between 6-8 hours per night. However, did you know that this recommendation is not always as accurate and beneficial to your body as it may be suggested.

Similarly the physical and mental activities that are present in your day to day lives can also significantly affect the amount you require day to day. So with these factors in mind how can you accurately determine what works best for you and whether you should follow the recommended guidelines or not?


Man Sleeping


One of the unhealthiest habits you may hear is how some people brag about how little sleep they get. While it is admirable that a person is willing to put their body and mind through a 48-hour work marathon, it is outright foolish because working sleepless yields diminishing returns. The more you diminish yourself the worse off your overall health will become especially later on in life. People who consistently burn the midnight oil inevitably burnout. Furthermore, overworked and unrested individuals tend to be less productive than their peers in sports, work and in life generally.

 

You may have seen or read that some athletes such as Mike O’Hearn and the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson get their workouts in at 4-5am and this can provoke questions such as how are they getting enough sleep? Are they taking power naps during the day? And can I do this too? The simple answer is yes you can, however you have to condition yourself and learn what works best for you.


Lack Of Sleep


The consequences of sleep deprivation are arguably disastrous to your health and work performance. “In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgement, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality. The goal is to improve and maintain health, fitness and well-being, the majority of health professionals out there will discourage the abuse of alcohol, drugs and diet binging, the same applies for sleep neglect and abuse. You cannot assume that a good diet and training regime will allow you to cheat on your body with lack of rest or sleep binging, consistency with all is the key.


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Recommended Guidelines


Guidelines suggested that six hours of sleep may be appropriate for some adults, as can as much as 10 to 11 hours depending on individual differences. Despite those who still claim to be just fine with sleeping only a few hours, researchers estimate that this is rarely true and likely to be the case only for about 1 percent to 3 percent of the population

The guidelines also specified recommended sleep ranges for children: 14 to 17 hours for infants and eight to 10 hours for teenagers.


Conclusion


In conclusion it is recommended to increase your sleep time if you have been subsisting on six or few hours of sleep per night, after a one to two week period see if you notice any improvements in your daytime and during your physical activities performance. If you’re already getting seven or eight hours a night on average but you are not feeling optimal (whether you exercise or not), then nine or even 10 hours might be what your body needs. However remember one thing these are just guidelines and your day to day lifestyles can differ as well as changes in age, location, profession and responsibilities so constantly juggle around and assess what works for you and what doesn’t then change it.


 

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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