“How much sleep do I need?” It’s one of those popular questions I am often asked. And at the risk of frustrating the asker, my answer is, “Whatever you need to feel rested during the day.” Could it really be that simple?
Studies have shown that the average adult needs about 8 hours, but some need a little more or a little less. A small number of us need a lot more or a lot less. Some people with sleep apnea or restless legs report that the amount of sleep they get has little or no bearing on their daytime alertness. And sleep does not have to occur all at night, especially when we are relatively young or old. A fairly short, early/mid afternoon nap each day has been employed by various cultures in warm environments for eons as part of their 24-hour sleep accumulation.
Some insomniacs feels VERY strongly that they need at least 8 hours when in fact they have never really paid attention to how a little less makes them feel during the day. Some might only need 7-7.5 hours, but the anxiety generated by the thought of not getting at least 8 hours creates a vicious cycle of insomnia. Good sleepers have developed a good sense of how much they need, what alters this need (e.g., activity level or food intake), and how not to lose confidence in being able to get enough sleep the night after a short night of sleep. This confidence can be difficult to obtain for many people, leading many to the chronic use of sleeping pills or alcohol. SleepQ is being designed to address this lack of confidence in sleep.
Sleep should be easy, efficient, and, well, enough! How much sleep is enough for you? And just as importantly, does a short night of sleep make you anxious or eager for bedtime the following night?