a woman sleeping in a bed

Sleeping Schedule: How long is it optimal to sleep?

The daily troubles of managing personal and work related obligations leave little space for sleeping. Often we find ourselves in positions of struggle when working with insufficient sleep. Fooling yourself that ‘’you’ve had” enough sleep can only work a couple of times. The facts say that we spend roughly a third of our life span in the state of sleep. That alone makes sleep something that should be taken with care. Sadly, rarely do we manage to achieve the optimal eight hours. Frequent uses of caffeine based drinks, alarms and external lights disrupts the natural cycle of being awake and asleep. This cycle is also known as the “circadian rhythm” and it is dynamic over a person’s lifetime.
sleeping cycles

Age isn’t the only factor. The kind of life your lead combined with your health profile make up the whole picture. This basically mean that you have to consider both biological and sociological factors around you to assess your sleep. With that information you can start realizing how you can improve your sleeping pattern and raise your quality of life in general.

Age specific sleeping needs

The younger the person, the more sleep it needs. This is due to the rapid formation of the brain in early stages of human life. Sleep is essential for this purpose. When we hit our teenage years we enter the standard sleep time requirements. Age fourteen and up tend to average out at the eight hour mark. The steep decrease in sleep time is presented in the table below.

Age CategorySleep Time Required
Newborns (0-3 months)14-17 Hours
Infants (4-11 months)12-15 Hours
Toddlers (1-2 years)11-14 Hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years)10-13 Hours
School age children (6-13 years)9-11 Hours
Teenagers (14-17 years)8-10 Hours
Younger adults (18-25 years)7-9 Hours
Adults (26-64 years)7-9 Hours
Older adults (65+ years)7-8 Hours
a mother sleeping with a baby

Health factors

Sleep sometimes feels more like a chore rather than a relaxing experience. The best sleep advice for failing to get rest is to consider your sleep debt – in particular if you experience irregular sleep schedules. Long flights, poor sleep management, illness or environmental factors create sleep debt. This means that even though you’ve had enough sleep for the day – your body demands more sleep for the hours you’ve “skipped”.

When you pay back the debt, the next goal is to maintain steady sleep levels. This is desired because enough sleep is strongly correlated with numerous general health benefits. Mood and attitude greatly improve as stress is greatly lowered with enough sleep. Physical performance and mental fortitude is greatly increased when you reach the demanded mark.

an image of a woman sleeping in a bed

The greatest reason to maintaining a regular circadian rhythm is weight related. Our metabolism is closely connected with this rhythm, remaining in good balance when maintained. Obesity and weight fluctuations can be caused by bad sleeping patterns. Moreover, hormonal issues can be triggered by this. Most of us consider that sleeping whenever is ok as long as we get enough of it. However, our parents weren’t wrong, sleeping during the night is the healthiest.

Consistency tips

Finding your mojo and applying the right routine is tricky. However there are a couple of tips that you can use to achieve that goal faster. Having strict sleeping schedules is the absolute must if you are even trying to attempt this. Not compromising on when you are waking up/going to sleep is the first (and most important) step. Other things that I will mention in this paragraph are there to help you achieve that first step and maintain it. Relaxing routines like taking a hot bath with calming music is a great way to introduce you to sleep. Having a bedroom with good isolation that is dark and comfortable is an added bonus. Physical activity is a great way to spend your daily energy – making the body crave sleep even more. This is just a short paragraph of examples, the suggestions are endless.
active lifestyle and spending time outdoors

Conclusion

Sleep is one of the pillars that hold our life in place. Numerous problems tackling our daily well-being are connected with this pillar being ready for renovation. Reaching the optimal 8 hour mark is something that some of us are unable to achieve due to life obligations. I have to stress that even if you don’t sleep the required amount, maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule still helps.

Before investing in expensive sleeping products that are sold as if they can cure any sleep ailment – consider this. The best mattress or isolation chamber dip won’t fool your body’s daily requirements for sleep. Seek within and find peace, may you sleep well.

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