For a lot of people, the moment when they finally can crawl underneath their warm, comfortable covers as a means of drifting off blissfully into an evening of slumber is the best part of their day. Who doesn’t love satisfying the feeling of exhaustion with a good night’s sleep? Of course, the problem is that entirely too many people are not getting enough sleep each night, which is something that can have hugely negative effects on their performance during the day. According to one recent government report, one in three Americans is not getting enough sleep, but how much really is enough?
The Standard Recommendation
The truth is that sleep requirements are different for everybody, but in a general sense most adults require somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Whether or not adults actually get this much sleep depends on a number of things, ranging from socioeconomic factors to the types of jobs that they work. People with babies (or even people with puppies) can lose significant chunks of sleep as well. Not everybody can always manage those seven to nine hours, but that is the standard recommendation.
Variations by Age
There are some slight variations by age. Adults age 18-64 need the above-recommended sleep, but older adults need about an hour less on the top end. Teenagers require a bit more sleep than previously thought, with the new recommendation being somewhere in the eight-to-ten-hour range, while younger children in school, those aged six to thirteen, require nine to eleven hours. Younger children require significantly more than that, with toddlers and preschoolers sleeping anywhere from ten to fourteen hours per day.
Quality Over Quantity
Of course, these are all just numbers, which don’t speak much to the quality of sleep a person is getting. Just because you’re in bed for eight hours a night doesn’t mean that you’re getting eight hours of quality of sleep. The best way to get a good night sleep is to avoid taking naps during the day, to exercise regularly, to sleep in a room that is dark and cool, to use backlit screens as little as possible in the hour before bed, and of course to purchase a mattress that is comfortable and provides ample support for a good night’s sleep.
Chasing the Sleep Debt
Many people believe that if they sleep more on the weekends, they will make up for all the hours of sleep they have missed out on over the course of the week. While sleeping more on Saturday or Sunday certainly can help people feel better over the weekend, it doesn’t do much to improve performance during the week. Drowsy people are less productive at work, much more dangerous on roads, and a lot less fun to be around on a personal level. It’s great to catch up on sleep when you can, but if you are burying yourself in too big a hole on every other day, those “makeup days” hardly matter.
The bottom line is that you should try to hit your recommended sleep every night, and we hope to help with that by providing access to comfortable and affordable mattresses right here at Ben’s!