Too little? Too much? Just right? Even the experts disagree (a little) about sleep. Here are 5 facts from different experts with differing opinions.
1. Can You Judge If Lack Of Sleep Is Impairing You? According to Dr. Daniel Buysse, a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, you can’t. He compares sleep deprivation with intoxication saying “people routinely misjudge how impaired they are…with insufficient sleep”. Do you think you know when you’re sleep deprived? Read on!
2. What Happens when You Only Sleep for 6 Hours? One sleep study showed that when study participants cut their sleep to just 6 hours a night, their cognitive function and reaction times were reduced as much as those who went two nights without any sleep. Their bodies didn’t adjust to less sleep, but, per Dr. Buysse, they did not always recognize this.
3. Can You Sleep too Much? According to Prevention it’s a resounding yes. Too much sleep is when you clock more than 9 hours – about 30% of US adults are “long sleepers”. So, what’s their risk? They tally up many of the same dangers signs as those who sleep too little. Long sleepers are at a higher risk for heart disease, Type II diabetes and weight gain. They also get that “fuzzy” brain. Sounds like you should set an alarm.
4. How Do you Know What’s Right for You? According to Jim Horne, a sleep expert at the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England, the amount of sleep that you need is flexible. Horne says, “if you’re not sleepy in the day and you’re having a fulfilling wakefulness” you’re getting enough sleep without counting the hours.
5. Can You Train for Less Sleep? Sleep Expert Horne says you can. His research had people cut down their regular sleep down to 6 hours. Working with subjects that slept from 7 to 8 ½ hours, he had them go to bed an hour later during the first week and push it back by 1.5 hours the next three weeks. The subjects awakened at the same time every day and Horne says they were not only able to function; they were getting quality sleep. His advice worry about quality, not quantity. If you already feel sleep deprived, don’t try to push your sleep back.
Now, you’ve “heard” from the experts. The rest is up to you. Pay attention to your sleep habits. Know when you have good, productive days and how long you slept the night before. Consider exercise in the afternoon, it may help you sleep well since it raises your body temperature and a cooling body temperature helps you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. Avoid a big late-night meal and turn off those screens. Good, quality sleep should give you great days so track your sleep and see what is right for you. Remember, though, it all starts with the bed so if you think your bed may be part of the reason you’re not waking up rested, turn on your computer. Yep, shopping for a latex mattress online is the way to get a great mattress at a great price. Plus, it’s delivered to your door and comes with a long trial period so you won’t ever have to stay awake at night wondering if you made the right choice. Now, you can sleep assured.
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