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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Updated on June 23, 2015
I need sleep!
I need sleep!

Getting up early for exercise?

Usually I recommend evening time for workouts, but if for some reason, morning is the only time you can workout and you've been getting enough sleep regularly, there shouldn't be a problem. But if you get fewer than six hours of sleep at night for more than a week, it's just better for you to get more rest than working out.

"For six months I couldn't sleep." said Tyler Durden a product recall specialist for a car company. "With Insomnia, everything is far away. Everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy."

His doctor wouldn't give him medication. He said what Durden needed was natural, healthy sleep. He told him to get some exercise. But he ignored the doc's instructions. He found another way; he went to a Testicular Cancer support group meeting, and pretended to be one of them. They shared their griefs, hugged him, and cried. He cried too.

Somehow, the crying worked. For the first time in several months he slept. He joined more such groups, he started sleeping again, and everything was great. Well, it was for a while. When that no longer worked, he along with his new friend, a soap maker he met on a flight, started a fight club (A fraternity where members organize fights among themselves. They fight to find peace and release frustration and stuff). Later, he blew up corporate buildings with homemade C4 and shot himself with the gun in his mouth.

What a mess! Don't try any of this. Please.

That's the story from the movie Fight Club. There are more scary twists, but I don't want to spoil it for you in case you haven't watched the film. Watch it.

I mentioned it to show to you how serious issue lack of sleep can be. Even if you don't suffer with insomnia, lack of sleep can cause serious heath problems.

How many hours of sleep do you get every night?

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How many hours do you need?

It depends. Normally, eight hours is the ideal amount of sleep for anyone with an active lifestyle, but seven hours works just fine for most people. Never go below six though. It may seem like a good way to make more time for other activities, but is a seriously bad habit that will cause you numerous health issues in the future.

If the amount of sleep you are currently getting is leaving you sleep deprived, get more rest. Following are the signs of sleep deprivation:

Lack of energy

If you feel the lack of enthusiasm, energy and concentration throughout the day, it may be because you get up from bed too early. Try getting an hour more of sleep and see if it makes a difference.

Mood swings

If you find yourself getting mad at lifeless objects such as a TV remote, or a slow computer, and blame them for your misery, as if they are determined to ruin your life in every possible way, sleep deprivation is the real culprit.

Malfunctioning motor skills

Recent scientific studies show that after a night without sleep, you're essentially operating on the same level as someone who's legally intoxicated. This can be harmful, even deadly. Don't drive when you're sleep deprived.

Increased appetite

Feeling hungry all the time, craving for sweets, seems like you have ceaseless appetite? Recent studies show that the levels of hormones that regulate appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration.

Poor memory

Research shows that people perform poorly in memory tests when they are sleep deprived. A sleep deprived person lacks focus and hence retains information inefficiently. Also, sleep is when motor skills are developed. So when learning a new skill, get lots of sleep.

Stress

Lack of sleep causes increase in stress hormones. Study shows that insomniacs suffer with stress more than the people who get enough sleep at night. Moreover, the people who work night shifts show signs of stress more than others.

Fall asleep quickly

This might not always be true, but people tend to fall asleep quickly when they are deprived of sleep. Falling asleep in less than five minutes is a sign. Ideally, it should take you around ten minutes or more.

Reduced sex drive

An hour of less sleep every night for a week results in fifteen percent drop in testosterone level. That's equivalent to drop in T levels with fifteen years of aging. Sleep is the time when the body produces most of the male and growth hormones. So, if you are experiencing lack of desire, try an extra hour in bed and see if it works.

Which of the above methods work for you?

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Tips for falling asleep

If you have a hard time falling asleep, then I have got some tips for you. Give them a try.

Rocking chair

Spending a little time rocking gently in a rocking chair may help you fall asleep. It might not seem like it'd work, but it does.

Sleep masks

Some people find sleep masks very helpful. Try gently tying a rolled piece of cloth over your eyes. You can also try covering the ears if it helps.

Reading

While reading a mystery novel might keep you awake all night, reading something calming will make you fall asleep.

Get comfortable

Get into a comfortable position. Wear loose cloths. Take a shower if you can before going to bed.

Focus on your breathing

No, I am not telling you to meditate. Although regular mediation works too. Just lie down, relax and pay attention to your breathing. You'll fall asleep before you know it.

Count 100 to 1

Count numbers backwards. Visualize each number in your mind. Take relaxed breaths.

Good Luck!

Try all these steps and see which one works best for you. Share your experience with others.

Thank you for reading and good luck!

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