New studies on sleep come out practically every day with different recommendations for all kinds of demographics, and now there is another to add to the list. A panel from the University of Washington says that for optimal health, adults need to sleep for seven hours every night.
However, researchers say that this figure isn’t counting functioning effectively for day-to-day activity. If you habitually slam back a couple cups of coffee in the morning before you can get going, you may need even more sleep — seven hours is just the bare minimum.
The study looked at over 5,300 articles concerning links between sleep and health for people aged 18 to 60. For young adults, those recovering from a sleep deficit, or those who are sick, the number jumps up to nine hours a night. If you’re healthy, however, that may be too much. In other words, it’s all a balancing act.
Looking at current estimates from other studies, most adults sleep six hours or less each night, making this study an important but difficult message to get out. In a world where being busy means that you’re successful and driven, this may be a message some take lightly.
Not only does sleep improve your effectiveness throughout the day, but it also cuts down on health risks. Those who sleep less than the recommended amount per night can fall victim to a host of other issues, including weight gain, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even higher risk of death. You may also get sick easier and more often due to a lower-functioning immune system. Your body needs sleep to be able to run all necessary functions.
Those who still do not believe that enough sleep is necessary can refer to another study done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which outlines other risks, such as heart attacks and strokes. As it is, over 42 million Americans say they are disrupted during sleep due to pain or discomfort a few times each week or more. Both of these studies concluded that a lack of sleep makes those aches and pains worse, in addition to lowering your threshold for pain.
The bottom line here is: to stay healthy, you need to strike a balance with your sleep. Sleep enough, but not too much, and remember that there is no substitute for a good night’s rest.