Have you ever wondered how much sleep you need? And what happens if you don’t get enough? Here we look at how poor sleep affects your health. Be prepared to be surprised!
How much sleep do you need?
This is a common question and unfortunately, there is no specific answer because the amount we need each night varies from person to person.
However, experts agree that we need less sleep as we age until around 20 years old, when it stabilises. For example newborns and infant require anywhere between 12 and 17 hours sleep a day, while pre-schoolers and school-aged children need between 10 and 13 hours. Teenagers should get 8 to 10 hours, while the average adult should aim for 7-9 hours.
While it’s true that some people can get by on less and others need more, the most important thing is that you get quality sleep. That means falling asleep easily, not tossing and turning all night, or waking up repeatedly.
What happens if you don’t get enough?
While researchers are still unclear as to the best amount of sleep we should get, they have discovered what happens if we don’t get enough.
Increased negative feelings — Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, irritability, moodiness and even, depression and anxiety.
Impaired thinking, concentration and memory — Lack of sleep causes problems with concentration, creativity, reasoning and problem solving, making it more difficult to learn. It can also impact your short- and long-term memory. Research has also linked poor sleep to Alzheimer’s disease.
Slower reaction times — Being tired increases your risk of having an accident due to slower reaction times.
Weakened immune system and poorer health — Sleep plays a huge part in keeping your immune system strong. Going without can lead to increased illness, including serious health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke) and diabetes.
Weight gain — Not getting enough shut-eye has been shown to stimulate appetite and increase cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods (aka junk food).
Lower sex drive – If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to experience a lower sex drive.
How to get the sleep you need
If you’re now convinced that you need to focus on getting more ZZZs, here are our top tips for getting into good habits.
- Go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each day
- Avoid napping during the day
- Ensure you exercise regularly as this helps promote sleep
- Focus on calming, relaxing activities before bedtime and limit stimulating activities, including electronic devices
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants
- Refrain from eating large meals, or meals that are spicy, and high in fat before bedtime
- Ensure your room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold.
- Ensure your bed and mattress is comfortable and offers proper support
While we can’t help you with all of the above list, we can help you with a high-quality, waterproof mattress designed to give you the ultimate in support and comfort. Browse our range today and take the next step towards getting the sleep that you need.