How many hours of sleep should you really be getting?

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Much has been said about the amount of sleep an individual should strive for each day. You might have heard somewhere that eight hours is the perfect duration, but how true is that? Does it work for everyone? What difference does the amount of sleep you get make, anyway?

Sleep is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, as is exercise and a balanced diet. When you sleep, your body gets to rest after being active all day. It heals itself and restores the chemical balance required for optimal functioning. As a result, you’ll be more alert and productive.

Many studies have been conducted in relation to this issue, and there have been different recommendations of the amount of sleep that’s right for different people. Factors that separate different individuals include age, health condition, and even gender. The general recommended hours of sleep for different groups vary depending on age. Infants, for example, require much more sleep than adults. These recommended quantities can be found on online health forums as well as by consulting with your doctor.

These may vary if one is suffering from a health conditions or sleep disorder. Pregnant women will require more sleep than the average adult.

Even with these recommendations, the right amount of sleep may be more individualized. It’s therefore important to know what number of hours works for you. If you’re having any of the following symptoms, it’s an indication that you’re not getting enough sleep:

  • Fatigue during the daytime
  • Irritability and constant mood swings
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Low concentration and lack of focus

If your sleep deprivation goes on for a long while, you might find yourself dealing with problems such as depression, weight gain, poor memory, a weakened immune system, and hallucinations.

Difficulty falling asleep when it’s your bedtime should also be treated as a warning signal, as should difficulty waking up in the morning. If you find yourself dealing with any of these conditions, you should seriously consider increasing the amount of time you sleep. It’s also helpful to schedule your sleeping times. Make sure to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time. If you’re unable to get enough sleep for a certain period of time because of responsibilities you couldn’t avoid, be sure to pay up that debt.

Measures you can take to improve your chances of getting the right amount of sleep include:

  • Take a warm bath before bedtime.
  • Do not drink too many liquids right before bed.
  • Avoid salty foods before bed, as they’ll result to dehydration and disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Keep your electronics away from you before bed.
  • Maintain your bedroom at cool temperatures.
  • Develop a relaxation routine before bed, such as reading.

In the long run, enough sleep will leave you with a better body and a better brain. Concentrating during the day will be much easier and you’ll be able to get through your day feeling fresh.

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