Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

How much sleep should you aim to get a night? The results of studies vary. Researchers at the University of California have said that we need at least six hours of sleep a night so that we can "recharge our batteries" and absorb the new information we've learned throughout the day. There are some who say that the healthy amount of sleep for adults is eight hours a night, while others have suggested that we sleep in 90 minute cycles, and should ideally aim to wake after five or six of these cycles. Children obviously need much more sleep than adults, with even older teenagers needing as much as 9.5 hours of sleep a night.

However, many experts agree that there are no set rules about the amount of sleep we need — it differs depending not only on age, but from person to person. What is clear, though, is that many people are not sleeping as much as they need to, leading to a "sleep debt" that means they feel tired throughout the day and sleep much longer than usual if they don't need to wake up for anything. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to poor mood and feeling less alert.

If any of this sounds familiar, you probably need to look at your sleeping habits and see what changes you can make to improve them. Lack of sleep not only affects how you feel, but can impact on your physical health too, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart problems.

Here are some easy ways to alter your sleeping habits so that they are more healthy and you are getting the amount of sleep that you need:

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