Not sleeping enough can cause heart disease.

What is the magic number for sleep? There have been many studies on sleep habits and what sleep does for the body, and how it reacts when it has too little sleep. Although the perfect amount of sleep is different for every person, we can get a general idea on how too little or too much sleep affects us. 

For many years we have been told get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Why do I need to sleep for 1/3 of my life? What happens if I only want to sleep 4-6 hours? I may be sleepy but I can just drink a cup of coffee. Let’s see how sleep impacts our lives.

The average adult sleeps less than 7 hours per night, according to the National Institutes of Health. I know I sure do. Although sleep requirements vary from person to person, most people need around 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Teens need more than that, and it just keeps getting higher in sleep time as age decreases.

Researchers at University of California discovered that some people can operate perfectly on 6 hours of sleep. Those people make up 3% of the population, for the rest of the 97% 6 hours just means sleep deprivation. And chances are, people with sleep deprivation don’t even know they are sleep deprived! 

Some symptoms of sleep deprivation that may be a part of “normal” everyday life. (

-Need an alarm in order to wake up on time
-Love the snooze button
-Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
-Feeling sleeping in the afternoon (that 2:30 feeling)
-Get drowsy after big meals or while driving
-Need a nap to get through the day
-Easily fall asleep while watching tv or relaxing

These may not seem like a big deal, because you may deal with them every day! That’s just how it is and we grab a cup of coffee. Sleep deprivation goes way beyond just daytime drowsiness. It can affect your reaction times and cause for poor judgment! It can cloud your mind just as much as being drunk.

-lack of motivation
-Lack of creativity
-Weaker immune system
-Weight gain
-Memory problems

And the big one, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other medical problems.
So there are a few different stages of sleep:

Stage 1: this lasts about 5 minutes, everything is slowing down but you are easily awakened.
Stage 2: This lasts about 10-25 minutes, your eyes have stopped moving, your heart rate slows down and your temperature decreases.
Stage 3: this is the deep sleep stage, you are harder to wake up, if you wake up during this stage you do not realize what is going on around you at first and may be disoriented for several minutes. During this stage your brain function is slow because blood is directed away from the brain and towards your muscles to repair and restore energy.

The last stage is REM sleep. Rapid Eye Movement. This usually starts around 70-90 minutes after falling asleep, you start dreaming in this state, breathing quickens, as well as your heart rate and blood pressure increases. 

Once you fall asleep you don’t just jump into a deep sleep that lasts all night, you sleep in stages, ranging from REM to stage 3. If you wake up during a stage 3 sleep, it will be really hard to get up and function. You will hit the snooze button and lay back down. Try to counter this by getting up a half hour to an hour earlier.
We have all heard of sleep deprivation but what about sleep debt? When you don’t get enough sleep, the debt you owe to your sleep increases. And it usually cant be made up for over the weekend. You can repay this debt by going to bed earlier and keeping this schedule for at least two weeks. 

Sleep tips!
-Try for at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night.
-Track your sleep time, after a while you’ll discover your pattern to know what makes you feel best!
- Don’t forget to repay your sleep debt, and don’t do it all at once!