Many of us have a bad habit of cutting corners when it comes to getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Despite the fact that getting seven or eight hours of sleep each night seems like the ideal amount of rest, we find that this is rarely possible for us due to our hectic busy lives both at home and at work, but is 6 hours sleep enough?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that people over the age of 65 get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. This recommendation is gaining widespread support among adolescents, preschoolers, and toddlers of all ages, but what about the average adult?
Even though getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, it is absolutely necessary. Let’s unfurl the blankets and get comfortable so we can learn more about sleep, why the average person needs more than six hours of sleep, and what we can do to make sure we are getting enough rest.
Is 6 Hours of Sleep Enough for You?
Even though the majority of us require more than six hours of sleep per night, there are indicators that can help you determine whether or not you only need six hours of sleep. If you are yawning, tired, if you have brain fog, or if you are irritable, it is a sign that you are not getting enough sleep.
Exhaustion or a lack of sleep can cause a variety of symptoms, including a lack of motivation, clumsiness, and an increase in hunger. If you are experiencing these symptoms and are only sleeping for six hours or less per night, you will need to either increase the amount of time you spend sleeping in order to meet the nightly recommendations for your age, or you will need to find ways to improve the quality of your sleep.
The Elements That Make Up Sleep
The term “sleep cycle” refers to the sequence of four distinct stages that occur naturally throughout the course of a normal night’s rest.
The first stage of sleep, also known as the lightest stage, is the stage that you are in when you are just starting to nod off. You may experience mild twitching, also known as hypnic jerks, and you will be easy to wake up during this stage of sleepy sleep. As your body prepares for a more restful, in-depth sleep, the muscles in your body will begin to relax, and your brain’s activity will start to slow down.
The second stage of sleep is characterised by a decrease in body temperature, as well as a decrease in the rates of both the heart rate and the breathing rate. During this stage of sleep, it will be difficult for you to wake up, and the rate at which your brain continues to slow down will be hindered by brief periods of increased brain activity known as sleep spindles. According to the findings of some studies, sleep spindles can stop the brain from waking up during the REM phase of sleep.
The slow-wave stage of sleep is the third stage of the sleep cycle. Delta brain waves characterise the stage of sleep identified as the greatest level of restfulness. During this stage, some of the most important physical processes that take place are the regulation of hormones, the release of human growth hormone, the detoxification of the brain, and the consolidation of memories.
The fourth and final stage of sleep is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and it is during this stage that dreaming takes place. While your muscles are “paralysed,” your brain waves become more active, almost to the point where it seems as if you are awake. Memory and other cognitive functions can’t be properly maintained without an adequate amount of REM sleep.
During the first half of the night, your body will spend more time in deep sleep, and during the second half of the night, it will spend more time in REM sleep.
It is necessary to go through all four of these stages of sleep. Each sleep cycle, which encompasses all four stages of sleep, typically lasts between 100 and 120 minutes, and you will go through anywhere from four to five of them in the course of a single night.
For the average person, six hours of sleep is simply not enough. While there are those among us who are able to function normally on just six hours of sleep or less, the vast majority of us could benefit from an additional hour or two.
The following is a list of the nine primary sleep categories as well as the associated sleep recommendations for each category.
The recommended amount of time for newborns to sleep each day is between 14 and 17 hours, although 11 to 13 hours of sleep is also acceptable. Finally, each day, a newborn’s sleep schedule should consist of at least 11 hours.
It is recommended that infants get between 12 and 16 hours of sleep each day, which can include naps.
11 to 14 hours of sleep per day, including naps, is the recommended amount for toddlers. A minimum of nine hours of sleep per day is recommended for toddlers.
A preschooler’s total daily sleep should fall between 10 – 13 hours, including nap time
Young people and children (6-12 years of age)
Children need 9 – 12 hours of sleep each and every day.
Youth (13-18 years of age) (13-18 years of age)
Every night, adolescents should get 8 – 10 hours of sleep at the very least.
Mature adults (18-60 years of age)
Adults should aim to get 7–9 hours of sleep each and every day.
Older Adults (61-64 years of age)
It is recommended that senior citizens get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day.
Senior citizens (65 years of age and older)
Every night, seniors should get between seven and eight hours of sleep.
Possible Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep?
There are many potential causes for either a lack of sleep or an insufficient amount of it. Problems falling asleep or staying asleep can be caused by a variety of factors, including drinking caffeine in the hours before going to bed. The following are some of the most typical explanations for why people do not get enough sleep.
It may be challenging to get to sleep and stay asleep if you regularly consume caffeine, alcohol, or even take sleeping pills. Although stimulants like alcohol can make you tired, the quality of your sleep will suffer as a result. On the other hand, using sleeping pills on an occasional basis is acceptable; however, their efficacy diminishes over time, and you run the risk of becoming dependent on them in order to get to sleep.
People who are required to work rotating shifts have a more challenging time maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle. Working rotating shifts has the potential to throw off your circadian rhythm and deprive you of a sizeable portion of the recommended amount of sleep each night; however, some people are better able to adjust than others.
Eating And Drinking Late
If you eat late at night, the quality of your sleep might suffer as a result because increased blood sugar levels cause an insulin response.
Going to bed on an empty stomach can not only keep your body busy absorbing what you have just eaten instead of allowing your body to sleep, but it will also cause a spike in cortisol, which will stop you from transitioning into the sleep stages that are mentioned above. This is due to the fact that sleeping on an empty stomach causes a spike in cortisol.
To add insult to injury, making poor food selections can give you heartburn, discomfort in the chest, or bloating, all of which can keep you awake at night.
Because of this, it is best to refrain from eating late-night snacks right up until bedtime. If you find that you are hungry, try eating a little bit of peanut butter and drinking some water or some tea.
The effects of stress can prevent us from falling asleep or cause disruptions in our normal sleeping patterns. Because stress keeps your fight-or-flight, or sympathetic nervous system, activated, it may be difficult for you to access the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest-and-digest nervous system, and it may also prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Before going to bed, give yourself some time to relax and unwind by meditating, keeping a journal, or doing some breathing exercises. This will help your body feel more at ease. If you are still having trouble sleeping, discuss your options for dealing with stress with your primary care provider.
One of the most typical causes of insufficient sleep is the presence of a sleep disorder. The patterns of our sleep can be thrown off for days, if not years if we suffer from sleep apnoea, night terrors, insomnia, or any of the other sleep disorders that are out there. If you have a chronic sleep disorder that prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about what you can do to get back to sleep. Your doctor may have some suggestions for you.
Healthy Habits To Develop
On a daily basis, our circadian rhythm will signal to us when it is time to go to sleep and when it will be time for us to wake up. When this internal cycle is thrown off, we are left with a whole host of unpleasant side effects that contribute to our inability to get enough sleep. Keeping this in mind, here are some suggestions for enhancing your current sleeping routine in order to facilitate a speedier onset of sleepiness.
Follow A Sleep Schedule
It should come as no surprise that maintaining a regular sleep schedule in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day is optimal for your body. This may also lower your risk of developing heart disease, the symptoms of which can be made worse by insufficient sleep.
Watch What You Eat
Reduce the number of times you snack and try to avoid eating big meals right before bed. Even though it is beneficial to drink water or tea before going to bed, drinking too much fluid can cause you to have to use the bathroom more frequently, which will shorten the amount of sleep you get.
It’s possible that having electronic screens, bright lights, or loud music in your bedroom will prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Before going to bed, try turning off your phone, turning down the lights, and reading a book to help relax your body and mind. Develop a wholesome bedtime routine that does not involve any distractions in order to assist your mind in unwinding and preparing for sleep.
There are some people who could benefit from taking sleep medication, even though it is not recommended for everyone. If you find that you are chronically sleep-deprived, you should discuss the possibility of taking sleep medication with your GP.
So, is 6 Hours of Sleep per Night Enough?
At the end of the day, the average person needs more than six hours of sleep to be able to function properly and effectively. Is 6 hours sleep enough? The simple answer is no, it is not.
Even though we all know someone who can get by on less sleep, the risks associated with sleep deprivation, such as poor cognitive performance and weight gain, are reason enough to ensure that you are getting enough of it for yourself.