Did you know that sleeping at least eight hours a night decreases the risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes? Good quality sleep is an essential component of your good health. Sadly, it’s also one of the last things most of us think about when trying to increase productivity.
However, just like eating right, staying hydrated, and exercising moderately, getting a better night’s sleep should be one of the first improvements you make to create a healthy and productive lifestyle for yourself.
A better night’s sleep will also help you reduce stress, improve your memory, and boost your mood – in addition to all the physical health benefits. When you think about it, the idea of losing weight, being healthier, and reducing stress just by sleeping better at night sounds like science fiction. But it’s not. Let’s learn more about how you can get a better night’s sleep so that you can get all these benefits.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
You’ll see a lot of people claim that they don’t need much sleep. However, the truth is most of us need a lot more than we get. There are a few lucky people who, due to their genetics and a rare gene mutation, can function normally on just six hours of sleep each night.
But, six hours is still a good chunk of sleeping for many people today due to the high demands on time. Let’s explore more about how much sleep you really need each night and then learn how to ensure you get it.
Sleep Seven to Nine Hours Each Night
When it comes to getting enough sleep, while it does vary slightly for different people, most of us (as adults) need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. The only way to be sure that you’re getting enough sleep for yourself is to experiment, but start with the longest period – not the shortest.
Sleep Quality Matters Too
Technically, a person getting enough sleep each night should be able to fall asleep within about 20 minutes without any issues and wake up within 20 minutes when the alarm goes off without much of a struggle. Then, you should be able to get through your day with enough energy to be as productive as you need to be.
About Segmented Sleep
Some people have experimented with the idea of sleeping in two chunks instead of one long night. This idea has come about mostly because many of us have lifestyles that aren’t conducive to sleeping nine hours a night, and history shows that two sleeping shifts were common in some households in the past.
During the most extended sleeping, prehistoric people would visit friends, have sex, pray, and do other calming activities during the sleep break. Not much can be done without sunlight, so nothing too active. Then after a couple of hours, they would go back to sleep until sunrise.
The main thing to understand about that past is that we did not have electricity then, and therefore night-time was longer due to not having artificial lighting. With this standard, they were often really sleeping about ten hours a night, in two approximately five-hour shifts. Additionally, people did not have regular jobs like they do now and instead lived off the land, and their time was used differently.
This method of sleeping can work for people who don’t need or want to live in a daily schedule that exists for most people who have typical day jobs and a normal nightlife. So, if you have an open schedule, it can work for you. Aim for two five-hour shifts, which should result in at least seven to nine hours of sleep you need every 24 hours.
The main thing to do is to figure out what works best for your lifestyle. More than likely, due to how people live today, it’s easier for you to stick to a regular night-time sleeping schedule and daytime working schedule.
However, don’t force it; if you try something and after a couple of months, you’re not experiencing the good health and energy you hoped, try something new. Regardless of when you sleep, getting your sleep environment right is the ultimate way to ensure you can get the quality sleep you need.