How much sleep should you really get?
There has been a debate about sleep ever since it was invented. “You should get 8 hours of sleep”, “Sleep as much as your body feels it needs”, “You only need 4 hours of sleep but it requires that you go to sleep before 9 pm”, “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead”. Research has shown that it is more important for the quality of sleep than the length of sleep. Why do we need sleep anyway? We could get much more done if we never slept. Could you imagine what life would be like if we never got tired? Sadly, sleep is part of our lives and for good reason too.
Look at it this way. Have you ever gone to bed at 2 am and slept until 10 am and woke up exhausted? I remember my days in college, and that pattern happened quite regularly. Getting the same amount of sleep, but starting 4 hours earlier provides a more restful sleep. Why is that? What would make the difference?
Our body recovers while we sleep. In fact, our neurological system is more active while we sleep correcting all of the breakdowns while we are fast asleep. But this healing only happens during certain waves of sleep and if we are not getting enough, then we are breaking down faster than we should. We hit these waves at key times of the night, and if we are going to bed after midnight, we are missing one of them.
For every hour that you sleep before midnight, it is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep after midnight. Who just got confused? That equation places a value to the quality of sleep. It basically states, that if you want to get the same value of sleep if you go to bed after midnight, then you need to sleep twice as long.
“Early to bed, early to rise, keeps the man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” It’s not just a cute saying, it’s really a recipe for good health. So go and grab your teddy bear, and snuggle up for a good night’s rest. Just make sure that you get to sleep by 10pm.