December 27, 2010
We need sleep, that is a truth. But what stirs up a lot of controversy is the amount of time one needs to sleep each day.
It has been said by many (doctors, specialists, old people, etc.) that every person needs about 8 hours of sleep a day, but where’s the evidence? What does it guarantee? Why not 9 hours of sleep a day? Is it bad for a person to sleep more than 8 hours a day? What if that person’s body is desinged to wake up after 6 hours of sleep, or 9 hours? Would it be dangerous to forcefully alter your biological clock based solely on a suggestion?
The controversy of the recommended hours.
I searched, and I looked, and the statistics below represent the most common recommended hours of sleep a person must acquire at a specific age.
Newborns (0-2 months) = 12 – 18 Hours
Infants (3 months to 1 year) = 14 – 15 Hours
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) = 12 – 14 Hours
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) = 11 – 13 Hours
School-aged children (5 to 12 years) = 10 – 11 Hours
Teens and preteens (12 to 18 years) = 8.5 – 10 Hours
Adults (18+) = 7.5 – 9 Hours
How accurate is this anyway? I wonder, how many newborns have testified that 12-18 hours of sleep a day is the best for them? I am not sure. And so I turned to the experts, and was surprised to discover that even those who have dedicated their lives in study of the subject of sleep are unsure of the competency of the common recommendations.
Daniel Kripke is the co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, California. At the start of one of his articles, Kripke explains that, “Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don’t live quite as long.”
But later on he admits, “I think we can speculate [about why people who sleep from 6.5 to 7.5 hr. live longer], but we have to admit that we don’t really understand the reasons. We don’t really know yet what is cause and what is effect.”
Does number of hours depend on matter of lifestyle?
The answer that this questions demands should be in the form of an essay, but let us try to dwell on it in the most productive matter as we can without having to suffer a Page 2.
There is a successful body-builder named Tom Venuto. Many have attacked him when he disregarded the value most people put into “The 8-Hour Myth”. He claims that, “I’ve achieved the absolute best condition of my life sleeping only 5 1/2 to 6 hours before contests.”
Venuto believes that sleep “was an individual matter, was tied in to lifestyle factors and was heavily tied into psychological factors and belief systems. In other words, if you believe you need 8 hours of sleep, you probably do.”
Let us pretend that Mr. Venuto’s opinion is fact, and that each person’s need for sleep is directly depended on his or her lifestlye. I have met college students who get the highest grades in class by sleeping less than 6 hours a day. And I have met employees who can’t function properly if he doesn’t get his 8 hours. Do you know people who share similar lifestyles? If we require more energy at work, does that mean that we require more sleep at night? We can never be sure, but there is a way for a certain person to somehow get an idea of how much sleep time he or she needs.
Here is a test we could all perform that could very well solve the mystery of our biological clock.
* Look for a couple of weeks in your calendar where you will not be too busy and therefore can concentrate on your sleep.
* Set a specific time each night where you should be in bed, ready to fall asleep.
* Do not eat or drink caffeine (or drink alcohol or snort drugs or snort anything altogether) 2 to 3 hours before you sleep.
* Construct a bedtime routine where you could relax yourself and allow your body to get ready to sleep.
* Set aside all distractions in the bedroom such as TV’s, Laptops, Books, Eminem, etc.
* Make sure, and I am emphasizing here, that you sleep on a comfortable, if not perfect, mattress… “A-ha!” -Uratex
* Do not set an alam clock. Allow yourself to wake up on your own time.
* Monitor you number of hours of sleep every day until you come up with the average number of hours.
So there, if your two weeks of sleeping test improved your waking hours, then it is wise to consider setting your alarm that would allow that routine to become a lifestyle. Hope it helped. Good night.