If you’ve been reading our blog for long, you know that sleep is a really big deal. Your body needs sleep! Sleep is just as essential for your health as air, water, and food. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body are not able to function at their best. Poor sleep can also dramatically lower your quality of life, because it affects so much of your daily routine and relationships with others. The key is to learn how much sleep is the right amount, and then ensure you get it.
What is the Right Amount of Sleep?
Most healthy adults need seven to eight hours of sleep. If some sleep is good, a lot of sleep must be great, right? Not so fast! You aren’t advised to sleep “at least seven hours,” you are told to sleep “seven to eight hours.” This is a big difference! Sleep is a bit more complicated than “less is bad and more is good.” In fact, if you’re regularly sleeping more than nine hours a night, this is not healthy for you at all. We’ll go more into this later.
Sleeping Too Little
This is known as sleep deprivation, and the effects can be catastrophic. Missing out on the recommended hours of shut-eye nightly does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy. If you’re tired, you’re much more likely to be in any kind of accident, from tripping and falling to a car crash. There are also real long-term health effects. Researchers have linked sleeping too little with a number of health problems, from weight gain, to Depression, to Alzheimer's, to a weakened immune system.
Sleeping Too Much
Oversleeping isn’t something to take lightly. We often hear about the dangers of staying up too late and sleeping too little. While these practices may lead to illness and other side effects, oversleeping comes with its share of negatives and complications as well. Oversleeping, or long sleeping, is defined as sleeping more than nine hours in a 24-hour period. Memory issues, productivity problems, Depression, Anxiety, as well as constant fatigue are all side effects of sleeping too much.
One of the most important things to figure out is why you’re sleeping too much. Are you trying to make up for lost sleep a few nights back? Sleeping in on the weekends can sometimes feel like a well-deserved treat. Let’s say you sleep five hours a night during the week, and then sleep for a full 12 hours on Saturday. This is not healthy!
In fact, science tells us that sleeping longer than normal on the weekends can be detrimental to your health and wellness. A study by the American Heart Association found that those who spend their weekend catching up on sleep for two or more hours are more likely to have poor cardiovascular health than those who don’t try catching up on sleep. Your heart health being affected is only the beginning.
Perhaps you’re sleeping so long because you’re waking up constantly, due to snoring, getting too warm, needing to urinate, or more. It takes you 10 hours to get seven hours of sleep! All of these conditions can be solved, so it is best to do so. It’s also possible your excessive sleeping is a symptom of a bigger problem. We encourage you to speak with your doctor if you feel it may be linked to a mental health problem or other illness.
Finding the Perfect Sleep System for You
Being able to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night long will help you get the perfect amount of sleep. You’ll be giving your body what it needs, and in the morning you’ll actually feel refreshed.
By creating a sleep oasis, you can encourage your body and brain to relax. You want your bedroom to be three things: cool, dark, and quiet. Of course, a high-quality mattress, supportive pillows, and comfortable linens help too! If you think your bed may be the problem, this is a great place to start. If you suspect snoring is leading to Obstructive Sleep Apnea, buying an adjustable bed base and sleeping slightly raised up can solve this. Beyond these essentials, we have anything and everything you could need to outfit your bedroom with what you need to sleep wonderfully. Don’t forget candles, a white noise machine, blackout curtains (for which we have a dedicated article on), and breathable pajamas!
Think of sleep like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You don’t want too much or too light, but just the right amount. If you’re not getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, every night, make today the day you fix it!