How much sleep do I really need?

How much sleep should I get each night in order to be at my optimum health and efficiency? Fortunately my children are well past the stage of waking up in the night and disturbing Mummy and Daddy’s sleep!

I set my alarm for 6.00 am on weekdays with the exception of 5.20 on Tuesday mornings to attend my Toastmasters club which meets at 7.15  in Chatswood. Usually I don’t set the alarm on the weekend but I find that I wake up around 6.00 am.

I choose the time I go to bed however I am always trying to get a balance between staying up late to do more and feeling tired and unproductive the following day. Often I stay up as late as possible then suffer the next day feeling tired and listless.

My purpose in writing this  article was to summarise my Internet research on the recommended amount of sleep I should have.

Over the last few weeks I have been keeping a log of the times I go to bed and wake up as well as a rating of the quality of sleep. My goal is to find the optimum amount of sleep for me.

What do other web sites say?

Helpguide.org: Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. [I will experiment with 8 hours for consecutive days to see how I feel, however this web site recommends setting alarm for a multiple of 90 minutes, so this means 7.5 hours sleep]

The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re logging enough hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime. [Maybe I should log how I feel mid-morning and mid-afternoon?]

Caffeine and Alcohol affect sleep and should be minimised, especially in the evening.

Get up at the same time each day and set a regular bedtime. If you need to change the bedtime, change in 15 minute increments.

A Time magazine article reported a study saying people who sleep between 6.5 and 7.5 hours a night live the longest.

Conclusion

  1. I will aim for a consistent wake up time on weekdays (6.00am but maybe bringing it earlier to 5.30 every weekday) and no alarm clock on weekends.
  2. Aim for a bedtime of 10.30 pm.
  3. Minimise caffeine consumption after 5 pm.
  4. I will continue to keep a record of my sleep times.

More links

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One response to this post.

  1. Here is an article with a graph of my sleep statistics for January to April 2012

    http://charuzu.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/reviewing-my-sleep-with-statistics/

    Reply

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