How Much Sleep Do I Really Need?

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  • cleanse, creativity, eight hours, habits, personal sleep quotient, personal sleep requirement, productivity, sleep, sleep for success, sleep habits, sleep hygiene, sleep need, wellness
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It’s common counsel to prescribe eight hours of nightly sleep, but most people don’t value sleep enough to meet that quota.  Those who do may still feel groggy the following day, making it that much more unlikely that they’ll carve out the time to maintain an adequate sleep schedule.

Failing to obtain sufficient, quality sleep impedes your productivity, creativity, judgement, and emotional stasis.  Scores of studies prove that sleep is integral to cardiovascular and immune health, not to mention maintenance of body mass index and appearance.

The evidence that supports sleep as a key factor in your health is compelling, so it’s incongruent that, even in an increasingly health-conscious culture, one in three adults still fails to get enough sleep on a regular basis.

Part of the problem may be in simply knowing where to start.  Between the prevalence of misleading health hacks, constant exposure to melatonin suppressing screens and bright lights, chronic stress levels, elephantine workloads, and lifestyles formed in a culture that champions sleepless machismo, it’s no surprise that we’re confused and our circadian rhythms are in shambles.

The first step in rectifying an irregular schedule and reclaiming a sound night’s sleep is simply determining how much sleep you should be getting each night, a figure referred to as your Personal Sleep Quotient (PSQ).  Most adults require anywhere between 7.5 and 9 hours of nocturnal sleep, but the specific amount required by a given individual depends on genetic predisposition, level of physical activity, metabolic rate, and even gender.  These factors are all variables, but there’s no universal formula, so determining your PSQ requires a bit of trial and error, a dash of dedication, and a few simple steps.

 

  1. Choose a bedtime when you’re likely to fall asleep, but one that is at least eight hours prior to the time you need to wake up.

  2. Keep this bedtime for a week and note what time you’re waking up each morning.

  3. If you need an alarm to wake up, if it’s difficult to get out of bed, or if you’re groggy the following day, eight hours isn’t enough for you. Move your bedtime up by 15 – 30 minutes and repeat steps 1 and 2.

  4. Continue doing this each week until you awaken without an alarm and feel alert all day.

  5. When you determine what you think is your ideal bedtime, cut 15 minutes off of it to see if you’re sleepy the next day. If so, then you’ve nailed your PSQ. Add those 15 minutes back, and you’re set.

 

If it helps, think of the process in the way you would a dietary “cleanse”. Curb the bad habits, establish a baseline, and reclaim a regular sleep schedule.  That means, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. There’s just one caveat; every day means seven days a week, 365 days a year. But before long, your new schedule will become reinforcing as you reclaim your mood, mental clarity, creativity, energy and productivity.

 

 

 

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