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How much sleep do we need? The 8-hour myth!

Do we really need 8 hours of sleep each night to be functioning adults? Will we keel over and die a death if we get a minute less? We often hear from “experts” that we should be getting a certain amount of shut-eye but is this actually true? And if it’s not, how much sleep do we need? Here at Beingwell, we're so ready to bust the 8-hour a night myth and explain why we’re all a little bit different when it comes to sleep.

This is a really common question that we get all the time. And we don’t doubt that you’ve pondered on this for a while before. Some people say they can run on 6 hours sleep, should we be sacrificing those last few Z’s? Or is it that we need 8 hours on the dot? Someone, please tell us what to do!

Well, the answer is…

We can’t really tell you how much sleep you need as individuals! That’s because we are all different.

Sorry, bit of a clique answer isn’t it? But let us explain why this is the case.

One of the problems with sleep is this very question! Lots of experts are telling us or advising us that we need to be getting 7 hours of sleep, 8-10 hours of sleep or something along those prescriptive lines.

There was even a piece of research carried out by a mattress company that said that we need eight hours and twelve minutes of sleep to lose weight. Can you believe that?!

And this is why the idea that measuring sleep need and value and quantity is a little bit ridiculous. That’s because sleep need is not just about how much sleep we’ve had, but it’s also about the quality of that sleep.

“Sleep need is not just about how much sleep we've had, but also the quality of our sleep. By judging sleep on volume we forget that it's just as important to consider how good the sleep was.”

To work out if we have had enough sleep, then we need to think about how we feel at around 10-11am. At this time, we should be at our most alert. So, if you’re feeling lethargic and rubbish, then you’ve probably not had enough sleep! On the other hand, if you’re feeling alert and productive, then you probably have.

Sleep well: We’re all individual and all different, so no one should be telling us how much sleep we need. To work out if we’ve had enough sleep ask yourself “how do I feel at 10-11 am?”, not "have I had X amount of sleep?". If we’re feeling shattered at 10am, then we might need more or better quality sleep. And that’s how we work out our sleep need!

Want some tips on how to get a good night’s kip? Head over to your Wellometer page and unlock Kip Advisor.




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