You may have heard that you need to sleep 8 hours a night, however, it turns out that there is actually no magic number. The amount of sleep you need varies a lot from person to person.
‘Your personal sleep need is essentially the amount of sleep that allows you to feel awake, refreshed, and focused during the following day. Very simply if you feel sleepy during the day then you are probably not, for whatever reason, getting the sleep you need during the night.’
Here is how you can find out how much sleep works for you.
**You will need to do this over a weekend or during a holiday.
- Prioritise sleep – make getting to bed your biggest evening priority. Do not ignore your body’s biorhythms but embrace them.
- Fall asleep faster - after sunset your brain releases melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. If you jump into bed as soon as you start to feel sleepy you will fall asleep much quicker. Worry more about how you feel than what the clock says.
- Follow a sleep routine – Try to schedule in the same activities at the same time each evening to prepare your body for sleep. Quality sleep is often the bi-product of a predictable sleep routine.
- Wake up naturally – Do not set an alarm clock to wake you up but rather note your bedtime and the time of your first waking. If you fell asleep at 9.50pm and woke feeling refreshed at 5.30am then you can work out that the right amount of sleep for you is around 7,5 hours. Going forward you can set an alarm clock for this time each day.
Remember, there is a broad range of normal that varies from 6 hours – 9,5 hours of sleep per night for healthy adults. Once you know how much sleep works for you, you will be able to work backwards from your wake time to ensure you fit in the sleep you need.
For more information on sleep needs at varying ages click here.
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