How Many Hours of Sleep Do we REALLY Need?

December 13, 2012

Sleepless nights can certainly cause all kinds of pains and frustrations.  Sleeping only 4 to 6 hours per night will eventually wear you down and stress you out.  Losing sleep will fog the mind and cloud our reflexes.  Through the years, numerous studies have revealed that being deprived of sleep for a few consecutive nights will slow your thinking process.  I’m sure we’ve all read about countless car accidents that were caused by sleepy drivers.

Ideal Sleeping HoursRecent scientific investigations have reported that getting enough hours of sleep is the secret to a healthy heart.  It is during sleep when our hormones stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which is system of our body that’s in charge of mobilizing our fight-or-flight response.  When we are asleep, blood pressure is lowered, heart rate is slowed, and blood vessels are relaxed, making it easier for blood to circulate inside our body.  Our hearts in turn will get a break from all the tension it has to endure during the day.

Despite these facts, there are a lot people out there who are satisfied with getting only 4 to 6 hours a night. Are they aware that they are making themselves more and more susceptible to high blood pressure and certain cardiac problems as they continue their routine? Our immune system will suffer from lack of sleep in the way cells won’t be able to regenerate enough when we fail to get the rest we need.

A few nights of reduced sleeping hours cannot instantly cause these problems, but people can sometimes go on their habits without noticing its negative effects.  In time, our body will adapt to this frequented practice.  Chronic sleep deprivation, according to experts, can even lead to death.  Certain experiments performed on rats show that after a few weeks of sleep deficiency, they become severely ill due to unhealthy immune defences.  It is widely known that their basic biological needs are similar to a human’s. Needless to say, what happened to the rodents can certainly happen to people, too.

So how much rest does a person really need in order to remain healthy and productive?  Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.  If you are having troubles with insomnia, reduce your intake of products containing caffeine like coffee, tea, and cola.