How Much Sleep Do I Need?

by Gary Wolf

circadian rhythm time chart Circadian Rhythm approximate timings based on a 'normal' sleep schedule

The most recent research indicates that healthy adults need approximately seven hours to be well rested. The current sleep guidelines from the various sleep foundations say anywhere to seven to nine hours for adults and more for teens, children and infants. What is important to keep in mind here is that what is right for a group of people may not be the right amount of time for you personally. This is where you can customize the sleep calculator to your needs.

"I don't think you can overdose on healthy sleep. When you get enough sleep your body will wake you up," said Safwan Badr, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. This is the little tip we are going to use to figure out how sleep we need.

How to Determine the Right Amount of Sleep for You

To determine how much healthy sleep you personally need takes a little bit of work but it is well worth it. The key is going to bed at your normal time, with your normal routine taking note of the time. Then just stay asleep until your body wakes you up, again taking note of the time. Waking naturally will be the hardest part for people with kids since it will take the cooperation of others. It takes a few days to get a good baseline for how many hours your body needs on a normal night so this may take you more than one weekend but dividends will soon pay off.

Once you have a few days in your sleep log, take those times and calculate the average time needed to wake feeling rested. Don't worry if your average needed time isn't what the foundations recommend as there is variation in what is needed depending on health, age and genetic considerations. This would be the appropriate time for you. Take this average time to the when to sleep calculator and adjust the time of the non initial sleep cycle under the time tables until a time close to your average is generated. This will help you get the amount of sleep you need but will also help you reduce the amount of sleep inertia you feel in the mornings.

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