Health : How many hours of sleep do we need?
It has been scientifically proven fact for many years: sleep has a direct influence on mood, health, learning abilities and even productivity. Studies conducted in recent years confirm that you should sleep at least 7 hours per night to be on good form. However, the number of hours of sleep we need varies dramatically over the course of our lives.
Minimum sleep time: what does the science say?
According to figures reported by the INSV (Institut National du Sommeil et de la Vigilance), in France, an active adult only sleeps 6:47 on average. If this is your case, be careful! Epidemiological studies show it: you need to sleep at least 7 hours a night. Below this limit, there is an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Lack of sleep is also likely to impact many other aspects of your daily life. Among its harmful effects:
- A decrease in vigilance – and an increase in the risk of accidents;
- Difficulty concentrating.
In other words, a lack of sleep affects your health, as well as your work and personal life.
How do you determine the number of hours of sleep you need?
The ideal sleep duration is not a constant: it varies throughout our lives, depending on our age. The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) has synthesized more than 300 scientific studies, in order to propose an indicative grid of the number of hours of sleep necessary according to your age:
- 0 to 3 months: from 2 to 5 p.m.
- 3 months to 1 year: from 12 to 3 p.m.
- 1 to 2 years: from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 3 to 5 years: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 6 to 13 years old: 9 to 11 a.m.
- 14 to 17 years old: 8 to 10 a.m.
- 18 to 64: 7 to 9 a.m.
- From 65 years old: 7 to 8 a.m.
It should be noted that this duration takes into account the duration of sleep during the night and during the nap – an essential rest for toddlers.
If age provides a first key to determining the number of hours of sleep it takes to be sort, we must also take into account personal criteria. At the same age, a person with sustained physical activity will, for example, need more sleep than a person who exerts little. We must also take into account the temperament of each, because there are indeed “heavy sleepers”, who need more hours of sleep to be on top.
In order to determine how many hours of sleep you need, it’s important to listen to how you feel. To do this, take the time to observe your sensations when you wake up, but also during the day. If you yawn a lot, get irritable, or feel like a nap would be welcome, chances are your nights are a little too short. In this case, it is recommended that you make the right decisions and change your habits a little, in order to give yourself more rest.
The number of hours of sleep is not everything!
When it comes to sleep, it’s a matter of reconciling quantity and quality: it’s good to get enough sleep, but you still have to sleep well. Noises, sounds and muscle tension are all elements that can cause micro-awakening. If these brief interruptions often leave no memory, they nonetheless affect the quality of your nights.
To enjoy a truly restful night’s sleep, bet on good bedding first: mattresses, of course, but also pillow adapted to your body type and duvet. If the shutters do not allow you to perfectly block the light, consider fitting the window with curtains. Finally, think about banning devices from the bedroom, starting with the laptop! Finally, do not neglect your lifestyle: practice daily physical activity, avoid abusing existing substances such as caffeine, and favor a light dinner. These few adjustments should quickly improve the quality of your nights.