How do I know I’m getting the right amount of sleep?


When thinking about how much sleep you should be getting, it's good to consider it in terms of quality as much as quantity. ISTOCK
When thinking about how much sleep you should be getting, it's good to consider it in terms of quality as much as quantity. ISTOCK
Dragging yourself through each day? Constantly feeling rundown? Fighting the urge to take a nap at your desk? You’re probably not getting enough shut-eye each night. But what is the right amount of sleep, and how do you ensure you get it?

How much sleep do I need?

While you may find you can function on five or six hours a night, there is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function at your best.

While different people do have different sleep needs, most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night – and children and teenagers need even more.

To test if you’re getting adequate sleep, simply evaluate how you feel and function during the day.

If you’re hitting your optimal number of sleep hours, you’ll feel energetic and refreshed from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.

If you’re sleep-deprived you’ll likely feel sluggish and drowsy, and may find yourself napping during the day or falling asleep in front of the TV in the evening.

The importance of quality

Of course, it’s not just the number of hours you spend asleep that matters – it also the quality of your sleep.

Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits but deep sleep (when the body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead) and mind and mood-boosting REM sleep are particularly important.

If you spend eight hours in bed but still have trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert during the day, it may be that you’re not spending enough time in the different stages of sleep.

How to get a better night’s sleep

If you’re looking to get a good night’s rest, you should stick to a consistent sleep schedule through the week.

This means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends.

Regular exercise can also help you get to sleep at night (as long as it’s not just before bedtime).

You should also avoid screens, work, and stressful conversations late at night.

Steer clear of sleep-disrupting foods like caffeine, alcohol and sugary snacks.

Read more: 10 tips to a good night’s sleep


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