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How much sleep do we really need?

By August 27, 2008 - 2:23pm
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hi -

I have a relative who claims that people only need 5-6 hours of sleep but I disagree. I get about 6 hours but I'm trying to get more. When I get a solid 8 hours, I feel great - it makes such a difference to my day! 6 or less has me dragging...

I think we need more or less sleep depending on our age, our health, our activity levels and other variables. Or is it true that we really only need about 6 hours a night?

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I need at least 8 more hours in a day to get enough sleep, as I get - if I'm lucky - about 5 hours/day. Somewhere I read that, the older you get, the fewer hours of sleep you need. I can't remember if that had anything to do with a lower level of physical activity, or what.

August 27, 2008 - 4:12pm

Hi there, you are correct! The amount of sleep we need changes with age. Babies spend 16 to 20 hours sleeping each day.

Between one and four years, the amount of sleep we need drops to 11 or 12 hours. Teens need, but may not get – nine hours of sleep, and when we get to middle age, that number drops to about seven or eight hours.

And while elderly people require eight, it may be harder to get that amount in one block of sleep. So while your relative may say we only need six, the pointy beard people at Harvard University may beg to differ.

And women apparently are more subject to sleep issues than men.

“Half of them report sleep disturbances during their menstrual periods; three-quarters of expectant mothers report that sleep is more disturbed during pregnancy; and many experience disrupted sleep during menopause, in part due to nighttime "hot flashes."

If you’re looking for solutions on how to get more sleep, check out this Web site

August 27, 2008 - 3:06pm
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