Eight hours of sleep is the most commonly recommended amount, but it does not always apply to all. Since the National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, the number 8 seems to be the perfect middle ground. However, you may need more than eight hours if you are paying off sleep debt, you’re ill, or your sleep need is higher.
This article delves into whether eight hours of sleep is enough, signs you are not getting the sleep you deserve, and how you can get a better night’s sleep. Let’s get started!
Are 8 Hours of Sleep Enough?
When it comes to the most suitable amount of sleep, there is no single answer that fits all people. The National Sleep Foundation itself gives guidelines, but no hard and fast number applies to all circumstances and individual sleep needs.
Genetic factors, similar to our eye color and height, determine our sleep needs. A study concerning sleep needs concluded that the average sleep duration is 8 hours and 40 minutes, give or take 10 minutes. However, more than 13.5% of individuals may require 9 or more hours of sleep at night.
Another research about the ideal amount of sleep concludes that although the sleep duration recommendations offered by public health authorities are critical for the information and surveillance of the masses about policies, healthy sleep behaviors, and interventions, the ideal amount of sleep may vary. This variation comes from the different individual needs based on genetics and various other factors, making it essential to modify the recommendations on an individual basis.
Additionally, these recommendations are typically derived from self-reported sleep duration and observational studies, which can make it complicated to get accurate statistics. They also focus on the amount of sleep people get instead of what they need, creating another loophole in these guidelines.
Therefore, there is no ideal or magic number that can cover everyone in the sleep spectrum. Since the ideal amount of sleep depends upon various factors, it needs to be individualized. Some individuals may need exactly eight hours of sleep, whereas others might require more than eight hours, which may be insufficient to boost their efficiency.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Your sleep requirements are subject to change in your lifetime. Infants may require up to 17 hours of sleep daily, whereas older adults can work on a mere 7 hours each night. Although sleep guidelines cannot offer you an accurate number, they can give you a direction to start determining and calculating your sleep needs as they build on research-corroborated statistics for the ideal amount of sleep necessary for optimal health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are the general sleep guidelines for different age groups. It is important to note that the necessary sleep duration can even vary in the same age group.
Amount of Sleep Needed
Birth to 3 months
14 to 17 hours
4 to 11 months
12 to 16 hours
1 to 2 years
11 to 14 hours
3 to 5 years
10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 years
9 to 12 hours
13 to 18 years
8 to 10 hours
18 to 64 years
7 to 9 hours
65 years and older
7 to 8 hours
You may be able to work on 7 hours of sleep to feel fresh and rejuvenated, but your partner may require 9 to wake up naturally feeling ready for the day. You can determine your sleep needs by evaluating how you feel after getting various amounts of sleep and asking yourself a few questions that can help you in the evaluation:
Do I heavily rely on caffeine to keep me awake and working during the day?
Do I feel rested after 7 hours of sleep, or do I need more, say 8 or 9 hours?
Does daytime drowsiness hamper my work?
Has my sleeping partner noticed me experiencing sleep issues at night, like tossing and turning?
Signs That You are Not Getting Enough Sleep
It is highly probable that you are sleep deprived if you do not get at least eight hours of sleep every night. It is also quite possible that you have no idea how your sleep deprivation may affect you.
It is possible to be sleep deprived without even knowing it since most of the symptoms of sleep deprivation are much more subtle than blatantly snoring in your meeting or classroom. What’s more, you probably don’t even notice the symptoms of sleep deprivation if you have made it a habit of getting less sleep. You may even forget how it feels to be completely alert, fully awake, and ready for the day.
Although you may think it normal to doze off during a boring class or meeting, want to go to bed immediately after dinner, or struggle to stay awake during the afternoon, all of this is very normal if you are sleep deprived. You are likely to be sleep deprived if:
You have a hard time waking up or getting out of bed in the morning.
You need several alarms to wake up on time.
Use the snooze button on your alarm clock too often.
Fall asleep relaxing in the evening or watching television.
Feel sluggish or demotivated in the afternoon.
Frequently get sleepy in lectures, warm rooms, or meetings.
Feel the need to sleep in late on the weekends.
Feel the need to take a nap throughout the day.
Fall asleep within five minutes of getting into bed.
How to Get the Good Night Sleep You Deserve
You can adopt various minimal lifestyle changes to get the good night’s sleep your body deserves. These include:
Religiously follow a sleep schedule.
Say no to a sedentary lifestyle.
Manage stress levels.
Eat and drink right.
Improve your sleep environment.
Postpone worrying to the morning.
Formulate a relaxing bedtime routine.
Look for underlying medical conditions that may be causing you sleep problems.
You can contact American-board certified and fellowship-trained sleep specialists, including sleep apnea specialists, at SleepRx to help you with any underlying medical complications that may be causing sleep problems. You can easily get a sleep apnea test, or make an appointment for an at-home sleep study, home sleep apnea test, or online sleep apnea test to get tested in the comfort of your home.