Is eight hours the optimal time for a person to sleep? Or is there a magic number or formula that you can use to figure out how much sleep you should be getting?
A good place to start is to look at how your mind and body feel each day when waking up. Do you feel rejuvenated and alert, or do you feel un refreshed and groggy? Most people are not aware of their sleep patterns and the affects it can have on their body. A daily sleep log is a good way for people to track their sleep patterns and the level of alertness they receive from those current patterns.
When determining your magic number, consider the following factors:
- Daily activities
- Type of profession and work environment
- Amount of exercise
- Quality of sleep
- Genetic makeup such as a person’s weight
Sure there may be days when you can’t get enough rest or you may think you don’t need those extra hours, but your body may require this to repair and rejuvenate.
According to the National Sleep Foundation., experts estimate that preschoolers (3 to 5 years-old) need 11-13 hours of sleep, while school-aged children up to age 12 need approximately 10-11 hours of sleep. Infants and newborns typically sleep up to 18 hours a day while adults and senior adults need approximately 7-9 hours sleep.
While there may not be empirical evidence that you can sleep too much, you can condition your body to crave extra hours of sleep. But remember, too little sleep can be detrimental to your health so track your sleep so that you may find your own magic sleep number
If you want a fun (nonscientific) way to see if you’re getting enough sleep and if your reaction time is up to snuff, why not try the Sheep Dash.
Check out a study that Scientific American undertook on the how’s and why’s of sleep and its importance to longevity and health.