So… How Much Sleep Do I Actually Need?

When was the last time you got eight hours of sleep? If you can’t remember, chances are you’re not getting enough rest.

It’s common knowledge by now that most of us need 7-8 hours of shut-eye to function and not go crazy – so why aren’t we getting enough sleep?

And how much sleep is actually enough?

Four reasons you’re sleep-deprived

You’re glued to your phone

Using your phone before bedtime is probably one of the biggest reasons you have trouble sleeping. explains in a previous post that using your device at night can cause two problems.

  • Melatonin Suppression: WebMD explains that screen time at night is linked to poor sleep. “The blue light from your electronic devices messes with your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. It signals your brain to wake up when it should be winding down,” they continue. “In one study, as little as two hours of exposure to blue light at night slowed or stopped the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.”
  • Mental Stimulation: Scrolling through your For You page on TikTok seems like the best thing to do before bedtime – however, it might be to your detriment. The screen time convinces your brain to stay awake, making it harder to fall asleep.

You’ve got chronic pain states individuals with chronic pain often don’t get enough sleep or are victims of interrupted sleep. “The link between chronic pain and sleep is bidirectional,” they explain.

“Chronic pain not only results in difficulty falling and staying asleep, but a lack of sleep may lead to decreased functioning, increased physical inactivity, longer pain duration, and more severe pain.”

You’ve got an irregular sleep pattern

The Sleep Foundation explains in an ideal world, the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, will follow the daily pattern of day and night. However, due to reality, many people have sleep schedules that disrupt this rhythm.

“Two well-known examples are jet lag and shift work,” they state. “Jet lag disturbs sleep because a person’s body can’t adjust to a rapid change in time zone. Shift work requires a person to work through the night and sleep during the day. Both can give rise to a disrupted circadian rhythm and insomnia.”

You’re way too stressed

It’s no surprise that in today’s world, people are stressed, and while the occasional bad day is okay, it’s the prolonged stress that you need to look out for.

“Chronic feelings of stress can cause the nervous system to maintain a heightened state of arousal for extended periods,” Medical News Today mentions.

“One effect of stress is that it can cause sleep deprivation. Frequently being in a heightened state of alertness can delay sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night.”

So… what now?

There are ways you can fix your sleep schedule, and thanks to Everyday Health, we’ll tell you how:

  • Adjust your bedtime
  • Stop napping, even if you feel tired
  • Stop sleeping in – getting up at the same time every morning will help you
  • Avoid exposure to light before
  • Don’t exercise right before shut-eye – evening workouts are okay
  • Watch what you eat before you sleep
  • Use sunlight to your advantage when waking up

“Changing your sleep schedule isn’t easy,” Rafael Pelayo, MD, clinical professor at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic states. “But with the proper discipline, it can be done. “Don’t get upset with yourself because it just makes the problem worse.”

How much sleep do I need?

So you’re on route to fixing your sleeping schedule, great! But what about the amount of sleep you need, I hear you ask? Healthline’s sleep calculator will help give you an insight into the correct amount of sleep you need depending on your age:

  • 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 above 7 to 8 hours

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