How much did you sleep last night? How many hours of sleep do you get every day? These questions may not seem very important. But sleep is an essential aspect of overall health. Lack of sleep creates short term and long term health problems. For many people, lack of sleep is OKAY, until they start developing lifestyle health issues.
How Many Hours And Sleep Cycles Do You Need?
Sleep promotes or demotes several physiological processes. It is connected to metabolic levels, stress levels, and a general sense of well-being.
Conventional wisdom has it that going to bed early solves most sleep problems. Because when it becomes a routine, the person will tend to sleep more and eventually settle into the rhythm. But erratic social life, work schedules, familial commitments can constantly threaten one’s sleep routine.
This following information assists in understanding how to calculate the best time to go to sleep, how to understand natural sleep cycles, etc.
How much sleep is needed anyway?
How many hours should you sleep in a day? Throughout a person’s life, their need for sleep decreases. The National Sleep Foundation has benchmarked the following hours based on age ranges. The following table is indicative of the common question – how much sleep do I need? – if you are wondering if you are sleeping enough.
|Infants – (0 to 3 years)||14 to 17|
|1 to 2 years||11 to 14|
|3 to 5 years||10 to 13|
|4 to 11 months||12 to 15|
|6 to 13 years||9 to 11|
|14 to 17 years||8 to 10|
|18 to 64 years||7 to 9|
|65 years +||7 to 8|
Here are the ‘How many hours of sleep did I get the calculator. Calculating sleep is based on the following factors:
- Waking time: The time that you wakeup regularly
- Sleep cycles: A sleep cycle is 90 minutes’ worth of sleep. In this phase, you go through the four sleep stages, namely NREM (first three stages), and REM (final stage). The following is an example of a sleep cycle calculator.
|Waking-up time||Time for bed with 7.5 hours of sleep comprising of 5 sleep cycles||Time for bed with of 9 hours of sleep consisting of 6 sleep cycles|
|Before 5 a.m.||8 p.m. to 9 p.m.||6 p.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Before 6 a.m.||10 p.m. to 11 p.m.||8 p.m. to 9 p.m.|
|Before 7 a.m.||11 p.m. to 12 p.m.||9 p.m. to 10 p.m.|
|Before 8 a.m.||12 a.m. to 1 a.m.||10 p.m. to 11 p.m.|
|Before 9 a.m.||1 a.m. to 2 a.m.||11 p.m. to 12 p.m.|
Stages of sleep
When a person falls asleep, the brain undergoes sleep cycles. The first three stages are Non-REM, and the last stage is the REM sleep stage. REM is expanded as rapid eye movement. During Non-REM sleep, the eyes do not move rapidly in different directions, unlike the REM stage. People usually get dreams during the REM sleep phase. The Non-REM sleep phase is generally of a longer duration.
Non-REM sleep stages
Each stage or phase of Non-REM sleep can last 5 to 15 minutes.
- First stage: Although eyes are closed, you can wake up easily. This phase lasts typically under 10 minutes.
- Second stage: This is the light sleep phase. Body temperature reduces, heart rate slows. The body readies for deep sleep.
- Third stage: Deep sleep phase. It is not easy to wake you up. And if someone did, you take some time to orient yourself to your surroundings. This phase is the most important. The body regenerates itself, builds bone mass, repairs and regrows tissue, etc.
As a person gets older, their deep sleep phase decreases. The onset of aging is linked to a lack of deep sleep.
How much REM sleep do you need? The onset of the REM sleep cycle begins after an hour or 90 minutes of deep sleep. REM sleep lasts for 90 minutes or more. During this time, the brain is active. You could see dreams during this time. Babies spend most of their time in REM sleep – almost 50%. Adults only spend 20% of their sleep time in REM sleep.
Why is sleep so important for health?
Are four sleep cycles enough? Yes, it is! Sleep is as crucial as exercise, eating a balanced diet and exercise.
- Only during sleep does the body release certain hormones that regulate metabolism, tissue repair, regulate appetite, etc.
- Cognitive function, concentration, and focus increases when the body and mind is well-rested
- Sleep is essential to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke
- Sleep improves metabolism, thereby regulating weight gain and weight loss
- Improves athletic ability, ability to react, be proactive, be more clairvoyant, develop speed, and agility
- Reduces depression or prevents its onset
How to get better sleep?
During the day:
- Exercise 5 hours before you go to sleep. Don’t exercise too late – like an hour before bedtime
- Increase sunlight exposure to help your body regulate its circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms help a person maintain a good sleep time and wake-up time routine
- Try avoiding naps in the afternoon
- Maintain a constant bedtime and wake-up time
Just before going to bed:
- Don’t consume coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes
- Switch off gadgets
- Take a warm bath and listen to relaxing music
- Dim the lights and use the thermostat in the bedroom to set an ideal/comfortable temperature.