The necessary amount of sleep

The necessary amount of sleep

Most adults function best after 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

When we get less than 7 hours, we’re impaired (to degrees that vary from person to person).  When sleep persistently falls below 6 hours per 24, we are at an increased risk of health problems

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Health

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Polyphasic sleeping

It's based on the idea that by partitioning your sleep into segments, you can get away with less of it.

Though it is possible to train oneself to sleep in spurts instead of a single nightly block, it does not seem possible to train oneself to need less sleep per 24-hour cycle.

Replacing sleep with caffeine

Caffeine works primarily by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine, which slows down our neural activity, allowing us to relax, rest, and sleep.

By interfering with it, caffeine cuts the brake lines of the brain’s alertness system. Eventually, if we don’t allow our body to relax, the buzz turns to anxiety.

Minimize screen time

Especially before bed. Phones and tablets emit light that’s skewed heavily toward the blue end of the visible spectrum and these frequencies are especially influential in human sleep cycles.

Using a “night mode,” available on some phones, is supposed to minimize that effect.

Melatonin and sleep

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.

Melatonin supplements have been shown to make some people fall asleep more quickly, but they aren’t proven to increase the total time or quality of sleep. 

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RELATED IDEAS

The Circadian Rhythm

It is impacted by three main factors: 

  • Light: probably the most significant pace setter of the circadian rhythm. Staring into a bright light for 30 minutes or so can often reset your circadian rhythm regardless of what time of day it is.
  • The time of day, your daily schedule, and the order in which you perform tasks can all impact your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Melatonin: this is the hormone that causes drowsiness and controls body temperature. It increases after dark and decreases before dawn.

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IDEAS

Avoiding caffeine

Don't drink caffeine after dark. If you have your last coffee in the early afternoon, most of the caffeine will have been flushed out of your body by 11pm.

Although avoiding coffee or tea within 6 hours of going to bed will make it much easier to drop off, it is unclear whether there are any benefits to abstaining outside that time period.

Sleep deprivation has been shown to change the body’s basic metabolism and the balance between fat and muscle mass.

A review of existing studies found permanent night-shift workers were 29 % more likely to become overweight. They were also 41 % more at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

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