Do You Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep?

Do You Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep?

By Danielle Cronquist Published at December 21, 2015 Views 5,446 Comments 2

We keep hearing that many people are sleep deprived, and we are constantly encouraged to shoot for eight whole hours of sleep each night, but new research suggests you don’t really need to spend that long snoozing.

Scientists found three primitive societies (two in Africa and one in South America) who were devoid of modern technology and who retained a traditional lifestyle. People were fitted with wrist bands that tracked hours spent asleep so researchers could see if the participants slept with the sun or stayed up later into the night. Even without late-night TV programs and smartphone games to keep them up, they only slept around six and a half to seven hours a night. And despite not getting the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended eight hours, there were no problems found with insomnia, sleep deprivation, or a need for midday napping.

John Peever, a sleep researcher at the University of Toronto, commented on the study saying, “It’s difficult to envision how we can claim that Western society is highly sleep-deprived if these groups that live without all these modern distractions and pressing schedules sleep less or about the same amount as the average Joe does here in North America.”

The amount of sleep that you really need may depend on your lifestyle and what you are comfortable with. If you find that you are refreshed and ready to go all day after six and a half hours of sleep, then maybe that’s all you need, but if you find you feel best after a full eight, then go ahead and keep your head on the pillow a little longer. If you ever feel concerned about the amount of sleep you are or aren’t getting, talk with your health care provider to see if your sleeping habits are affecting your health, and find out if they have any suggestions for you.

How many hours of sleep does it take for you to feel refreshed? Share with the community in the comment section below.

For more on sleep research:

Avoid Sleeping Pills for Children with Insomnia
Warning: Sleep Problems Could Lead to Heart Disease
New Study Links Sleep Apnea to Increased Risk of Gout

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